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Concept: Yttrium


Potential risks of supply shortages for critical metals including rare-earth elements and yttrium (REY) have spurred great interest in commercial mining of deep-sea mineral resources. Deep-sea mud containing over 5,000 ppm total REY content was discovered in the western North Pacific Ocean near Minamitorishima Island, Japan, in 2013. This REY-rich mud has great potential as a rare-earth metal resource because of the enormous amount available and its advantageous mineralogical features. Here, we estimated the resource amount in REY-rich mud with Geographical Information System software and established a mineral processing procedure to greatly enhance its economic value. The resource amount was estimated to be 1.2 Mt of rare-earth oxide for the most promising area (105 km2 × 0-10 mbsf), which accounts for 62, 47, 32, and 56 years of annual global demand for Y, Eu, Tb, and Dy, respectively. Moreover, using a hydrocyclone separator enabled us to recover selectively biogenic calcium phosphate grains, which have high REY content (up to 22,000 ppm) and constitute the coarser domain in the grain-size distribution. The enormous resource amount and the effectiveness of the mineral processing are strong indicators that this new REY resource could be exploited in the near future.

Concepts: Geographic information system, Japan, Pacific Ocean, Ocean, Rare earth element, Yttrium, Terbium, Dysprosium


This work presents a novel white light device. An yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG) phosphor-incorporated zinc oxide (ZnO) film is deposited on a slide glass substrate by ultrasonic spray pyrolysis. A nanoflower consisting of a hexagonal nanopetal is formed on the surfaces of the samples, and the sizes of the nanopetal are approximately 200 to 700 nm. Additionally, the nanopetal becomes blunted with an increasing incorporated amount of YAG. As the incorporated amount is 1.5 and 2.5 wt.%, the photoluminescence color of the YAG-incorporated ZnO film is nearly white, possibly contributing to the YAG emission and the band-to-deep level transition in the ZnO film.

Concepts: Aluminium, Zinc, Color, Titanium dioxide, Zinc oxide, Yttrium aluminium garnet, Garnet, Yttrium


In order to confirm the possibility that recycled fractions from the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) stream were illegally entering the European market in black polymeric food-contact articles (FCAs), bromine quantification, brominated flame retardant (BFR) identification combined with WEEE relevant elemental analysis and polymer impurity analysis were performed. From the 10 selected FCAs, seven samples contained a bromine level ranging from 57 till 5975 mg kg(-1) which is lower than expected to achieve flame retardancy. The BFRs which were present were tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), decabromodiphenylether (decaBDE), decabromodiphenylethane (DBDPE) and 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)ethane (BTBPE). Typical elements used in electronic equipment and present in WEEE were detected either at trace level or at elevated concentrations. In all cases when bromine was detected at higher concentrations, concurrently antimony was also detected which confirms the synergetic use of antimony in combination with BFRs. This study describes also the measurement of rare earth elements (REEs) where combinations of cerium, dysprosium, lanthanum, neodymium, praseodymium and yttrium which were detected in four of the seven BFR positive samples. Additionally, the polymer purity was investigated where in all cases foreign polymer fractions were detected. Despite the fact that this study was carried-out on a very small amount of samples there is a significant likelihood that WEEE has been used for the production of FCAs.

Concepts: Flame retardant, Rare earth element, Chemical elements, Yttrium, Brominated flame retardant, Cerium, Lanthanide, Monazite


A study was designed to determine and describe the changes induced in the anterior segment of the eye and the intraocular pressure (IOP) after laser peripheral iridotomy (LPI) versus phacoemulsification in primary angle closure suspects (PACS) and primary angle closure (PAC).

Concepts: Ophthalmology, Yttrium aluminium garnet, Garnet, Yttrium


The observation by scanning tunnelling spectroscopy of Abrikosov vortex cores in the high-temperature superconductor YBa2Cu3O7-δ (Y123) has revealed a robust pair of electron-hole symmetric states at finite subgap energy. Their interpretation remains an open question because theory predicts a different signature in the vortex cores, characterized by a strong zero-bias conductance peak. Here, we present scanning tunnelling spectroscopy data on very homogeneous Y123 at 0.4 K revealing that the subgap features do not belong to vortices: they are actually observed everywhere along the surface with high spatial and energy reproducibility, even in the absence of magnetic field. Detailed analysis and modelling show that these states remain unpaired in the superconducting phase and belong to an incoherent channel, which contributes to the tunnelling signal in parallel with the superconducting density of states.

Concepts: Scientific method, Quantum mechanics, Fundamental physics concepts, Condensed matter physics, Philosophy of science, Superconductivity, Yttrium, Type-II superconductor


This paper proposes a forecast of certain rare earth flows in Europe at the 2020 horizon, based on an analysis of trends influencing various actors of the rare earth industry along the value chain. While 2020 is indicated as the forecast horizon, the analysis should be considered as more representative of the next decade. The rare earths considered here are used in applications that are important for a low-carbon energy transition and/or have a significant recycling potential: NdFeB magnets (Pr, Nd, Dy), NiMH batteries (Pr, Nd) and fluorescent lamp phosphors (Eu, Tb, Y). An analysis of major trends affecting the rare earth industry in Europe along the value chain (including extraction, separation, fabrication, manufacture, use and recycling), helps to build a scenario for a material flow analysis of these rare earths in Europe. The scenario assumes in particular that during the next decade, there exists a rare earth mine in production in Europe (with Norra Kärr in Sweden as a most likely candidate) and also that recycling is in line with targets proposed in recent European legislation. Results are presented in the form of Sankey diagrams which help visualize the various flows for the three applications. For example, calculations forecast flows from extraction to separation of Pr, Nd and Dy for magnet applications in Europe, on the order of 310tons, 980tons and 80tons rare earth metal resp., while recycled flows are 35tons, 110tons and 30tons resp. Calculations illustrate how the relative contribution of recycling to supply strongly depends on the situation with respect to demand. Considering the balance between supply and demand, it is not anticipated any significant shortage of rare earth supply in Europe at the 2020 horizon, barring any new geopolitical crisis involving China. For some heavy rare earths, supply will in fact largely outweigh demand, as for example Europium due to the phasing out of fluorescent lights by LEDs.

Concepts: Fluorescent lamp, Phosphor, Rare earth element, Yttrium, Terbium, Europium, Dysprosium, Rare-earth magnet


A newly developed laser desorption and laser postionization time-of-flight mass spectrometer (LD-LPI-TOFMS) for the direct microtrace determination of rare earth elements (REEs) in residues has been presented. Benefiting from spatially and temporally separated processes between desorption and ionization, LD-LPI-TOFMS plays a dual role in alleviating the barriers of deteriorating spectral resolution at high irradiance, serious matrix effects and elemental fractionation effects at low irradiance. Compared with the conventional laser desorption/ionization (LDI) method, this technique offers unambiguous full-elemental determination of fifteen REEs with more uniform relative sensitivity coefficients (RSCs) ranging from 0.5-2.5 for all REEs investigated, satisfying the semiquantitative analysis criteria. More importantly, a highly sensitive analysis of REEs with very little consumption was achieved by getting the utmost out of desorbed neutral atoms instead of increasing the amount of the sample, resulting in outstanding relative and absolute limits of detection (LODs and ALODs) of ~ ng/mL and ~ femtogram. The results presented here indicate that LD-LPI-TOFMS offers great potential in microtrace determination for elements in solution samples with minor sample preparation.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Chemical element, Rare earth element, Yttrium


The superconductor-to-insulator transition (SIT) induced by means such as external magnetic fields, disorder or spatial confinement is a vivid illustration of a quantum phase transition dramatically affecting the superconducting order parameter. In pursuit of a new realization of the SIT by interfacial charge transfer, we developed extremely thin superlattices composed of high Tc superconductor YBa2Cu3O7 (YBCO) and colossal magnetoresistance ferromagnet La0.67Ca0.33MnO3 (LCMO). By using linearly polarized resonant X-ray absorption spectroscopy and magnetic circular dichroism, combined with hard X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, we derived a complete picture of the interfacial carrier doping in cuprate and manganite atomic layers, leading to the transition from superconducting to an unusual Mott insulating state emerging with the increase of LCMO layer thickness. In addition, contrary to the common perception that only transition metal ions may respond to the charge transfer process, we found that charge is also actively compensated by rare-earth and alkaline-earth metal ions of the interface. Such deterministic control of Tc by pure electronic doping without any hindering effects of chemical substitution is another promising route to disentangle the role of disorder on the pseudo-gap and charge density wave phases of underdoped cuprates.

Concepts: Electron, X-ray, Iron, Fundamental physics concepts, Condensed matter physics, Phase transition, Superconductivity, Yttrium


Rare earth elements (REEs) are critical and strategic materials in the defense, energy, electronics, and automotive industries. The reclamation of REEs from coal combustion fly ash has been proposed as a way to supplement REE mining. However, the typical REE contents in coal fly ash, particularly in the United States, have not been comprehensively documented or compared among the major types of coal feedstocks that determine fly ash composition. The objective of this study was to characterize a broad selection of U.S. fly ashes of varied geological origin in order to rank their potential for REE recovery. The total and nitric acid-extractable REE content for more than 100 ash samples were correlated with characteristics such as the major element content and coal basin to elucidate trends in REE enrichment. Average total REE content (defined as the sum of the lanthanides, yttrium, and scandium) for ashes derived from Appalachian sources was 591 mg kg(-1) and significantly greater than in ashes from Illinois and Powder River basin coals (403 and 337 mg kg(-1), respectively). The fraction of critical REEs (Nd, Eu, Tb, Dy, Y, and Er) in the fly ashes was 34-38% of the total and considerably higher than in conventional ores (typically less than 15%). Powder River Basin ashes had the highest extractable REE content, with 70% of the total REE recovered by heated nitric acid digestion. This is likely due to the higher calcium content of Powder River Basin ashes, which enhances their solubility in nitric acid. Sc, Nd, and Dy were the major contributors to the total REE value in fly ash, based on their contents and recent market prices. Overall, this study shows that coal fly ash production could provide a substantial domestic supply of REEs, but the feasibility of recovery depends on the development of extraction technologies that could be tailored to the major mineral content and origins of the feed coal for the ash.

Concepts: Coal, Rare earth element, Fly ash, Yttrium, Lanthanide, Scandium, Dysprosium, Powder River Basin


We report on theoretical investigations of intermetallic phases derived from the ThMn12-type crystal structure. Our computational high-throughput screening (HTS) approach is extended to an estimation of the anisotropy constant K1, the anisotropy field Ha and the energy product (BH)max. The calculation of K1 is fast since it is based on the crystal field parameters and avoids expensive total-energy calculations with many k-points. Thus the HTS approach allows a very efficient search for hard-magnetic materials for which the magnetization M and the coercive field Hc connected to Ha represent the key quantities. Besides for NdFe12N which has the highest magnetization we report HTS results for several intermetallic phases based on Cerium which are interesting as alternative hard-magnetic phases because Cerium is a less ressource-critical element than Neodymium.

Concepts: Algorithm, Mathematics, Materials science, Rare earth element, Calculation, Yttrium, Lanthanide, Monazite