Rare-earth magnets are a critical component of modern technology and their recycling is of strategic importance for the European Union in particularly to reach a climate neutrality by 2050. An efficient recycling requires in the front end a sorting of the magnets according not only to their type, but also according to their rare-earth element content, thus requiring an analytical technique. Till today there is absence of a consistent and straightforward solution for a rapid non-destructive characterization of magnet material waste streams and the development of an analytical technique fitting the requirement of industry is challenging.
A precise and accurate non-destructive characterization of magnet samples of various composition, geometry and thickness can be achieved using fast neutrons as a source of interrogation radiation and measuring of the element specific prompt gamma-rays induced by the inelastic scattering of fast neutrons. The European Union funded MAGFAST project (Magnet Analysis by Gammas induced by Fast neutrons) under the GNeuS COFUND grant (www.gneus.eu) conducted together with Forschungszentrum Jülich, Fraunhofer IWKS and Dynaxion aims to provide a concept for a fast-neutron based measurement technology for industrial applications.
Dr. Iaroslav Meleshenkovskii leads the efforts to design and optimize the system using simulations using PHITS Monte Carlo code supported by measurements with the FaNGaS (Fast Neutron induced Gamma Spectrometry) instrument installed at the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum (MLZ, Germany) and with accelerator-based neutron sources (Dynaxion, Netherlands) or DD-type neutron generators as compact sources of fast neutrons. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement N°101034266.