Project Leader:  Andrea Bachmaier

Group Members:
Lukas Weissitsch
Philipp Payer

Martin Kraus



These days, a tremendous amount of materials exhibiting permanent magnetic properties is used and have become a normal part of modern life. In fact, permanent magnets (PM) are indispensable and allow us to manufacture, i.e., loudspeakers, sensors integrated in various applications, electric motors or generators for wind power plants. Especially the rising public awareness in green technologies, forces an annual production of PM and call attention to the product itself. Nowadays high-performance PM are based on materials containing a significant amount of cobalt and rare-earth elements (REE). Such elemental components allow the generation of very strong (e.g., huge maximum energy product BHmax) and temperature stable PM. However, international institutes, e.g., the U.S. Department of Energy and the European Commission already recognized several REE as critical materials. Supply shortages, provoked due to monopolistic situations and political instabilities in the countries of origin, seems to be a crucial problem for the global economic and social development. Furthermore, mining conditions and occupational safety regulations are often questionable.

Therefore, a considerable interest in reducing or evading such elements is given. Although microstructural optimization processes in PM development are reported and enormous efforts to find economical competing REE-free PM material systems are undertaken, no completely new system has been found so far. Another approach is realized by so called spring magnets. The concept of spring magnets uses magnetic coupling effects between a soft- and a hard-magnetic material phase. However, a nanostructured composite within a bulk material is required to spawn suitable magnetic properties for applications.

In course of the ERC Starting Grant SpdTuM we have developed a new processing route to synthesize permanent magnets based on this concept. The objective of this ERC PoC Grant is to use this processing route and apply it to the MnBi system, which represent a rare-earth free alternative for a hard-magnetic material. As additional benefit, the magnetic α-MnBi phase exhibits an increasing coercivity with rising temperature. Thus, magnets based on MnBi will be especially well-suited for high temperature applications. Furthermore, the production concept is suitable for an upscaling process, as larger HPT-devices allow to process larger samples - even though the desired nanostructured appearance is present. Within this project, we not just optimize a novel method to generate this difficult to process hard magnetic α-MnBi phase in large quantities, but also will apply high-pressure torsion (HPT) to form a nanocomposite structure by using an additional soft-magnetic material phase to allow magnetic coupling and the manufacturing of none-rare earth permanent spring-magnets.

Stay up to date

- October 2022: Martin joins the group as student worker.

- September 2022: Philipp starts his master thesis.

- September 2022: Lukas gives a talk at the 71st Annual Meeting of the Austrian Physical Society - ÖPG 2022.

- September 2022: Lukas performs XRD/SAXS/WAXS synchrotron measurements at the DESY in Hamburg (Germany).

- Juni 2022: Lukas gives a talk on the 16th International Conference on Nanostructured Materials.

- May 2022: Andrea receives the Josef Krainer Appreciation Prize 2022.

- May 2022: Andrea is elected as a new member of the Young Academy of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

- May 2022: Philipp Payer joins the group as our new student assistant. Welcome Philipp!

- April 2022: Our homepage is now online! Stay tuned and follow us on Twitter

- April 2022: Lukas gave a talk on “Generating Bulk Rare Earth Free Permanent Magnets by Severe Plastic Deformation” at the 1st Materials Science Colloquium (& 66. Metallkunde-Kolloquium) in Lech

- April 1st 2022: It is not an April fool – Based on the ERC Starting Grant SpdTuM the Proof of Concept (PoC) project REFMAG is about to start!





Weissitsch, L., Wurster, S., Stückler, M., Müller, T., Krenn, H., Pippan, R., Bachmaier, A.

Synthesis of hard magnetic α-MnBi phase by high pressure torsion and field assisted annealing

(2023) Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, 584, art. no. 171082

DOI: 10.1016/j.jmmm.2023.171082


Weissitsch, L., Staab, F., Durst, K., Bachmaier, A.

Magnetic Materials via High-Pressure Torsion of Powders

(2023) Materials Transactions, 64 (7), pp. 1537-1550.

DOI: 10.2320/matertrans.MT-MF2022026


This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 101069203).

Project Duration

 01.04.2022 – 30.9.2023



All publications and download-links can be found
on orcid and Researchgate