Prime Photonics is developing new magnetic materials and 3D manufacturing techniques that yield exciting possibilities in the area of magnetic field sensing, energy harvesting and electromagnetic systems.
Ferrofluids are magnetic fluids consisting of colloidal suspensions of single-domain magnetic nanoparticles in a carrier liquid. The properties of such fluids are dependent on the intrinsic properties of the ferromagnetic materials (permeability, Curie temperature, etc.) and the extrinsic properties of the particles (size, shape, strain, etc.). Most commercially available ferrofluids are made with low-saturation, low-permeability iron oxide materials. Prime Photonics is interested in novel ferrofluid chemistries that demonstrate elevated permeability and saturation, allowing for increased magnetothermal interactions. Ferrofluids have application in self-powered cooling devices, energy harvesters, and medical applications.
Magnetodielectric (MD) polymer materials can be synthesized that exhibit high permittivity and permeability to enable novel magnetoelectric applications, from antenna miniaturization to metamaterials-based frequency selective surfaces. Our technology is enabled through advanced, additive manufacturing techniques that not only allow for otherwise restrictive geometries, but also serve to enhance the magnetodielectric properties of the composite.
Frequency Selective MD Surfaces
Dielectric and magnetic properties of magnetodielecric composites allow for materials with impedance characteristics not possible in naturally occurring materials. Such properties allow for complex electromagnetic shaping, allowing for all-dielectric frequency selective surfaces for high-powered microwave applications.
Additive Manufacturing of MD Devices and Structures
The unique microstructure resulting from additive manufacturing techniques, coupled with the freedom in geometric design, allow for magnetodielectric devices and structures with unprecedented electromagnetic properties for applications ranging from multi-functional structures to miniature antennas.
Prime Photonics is developing a drop-in replacement core for NASA fluxgate magnetometers that uses a cobalt-rich, amorphous metallic alloy. The metallic glass material technology allows engineering of the Curie temperature to provide low saturation and high permeability that can be tuned for specific applications and environments. These alloys are designed to meet ultra-low equivalent magnetic noise levels required for world-class NASA scientific research missions, and can be applied to other devices, such as power supplies and converters. The metallic glass technology includes near net shape processing techniques that are well-suited for mass production manufacturing and will support a wide range of component geometries that are difficult to achieve with tape-based metallic glass device fabrication.
Soft Magnetic Materials
The room-temperature Curie point and relatively high saturation of gadolinium provide for novel room-temperature magnetothermal applications. To extend application of magnetic devices outside the near-ambient operation space, through a partnership with Virginia Tech we are developing soft magnetic materials with controlled Curie temperatures and elevated magnetic saturation. Magnetic composites with elevated saturation and controlled Curie temperature will greatly increase the application space for Prime Photonics magnetothermal devices and will have application in a variety of magnetic material applications currently utilizing soft magnets.