Critical Materials

Discovering New Materials

Seventeen elements essential to technologies are classified as rare earth materials because deposits are small, hard to find, and the ores are difficult to process. Scientists at Iowa State and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Lab already have developed two new light-producing phosphors that can replace rare earth elements used in LED lighting, flat panel displays, and smartphones.

Scientists from Iowa State University also are conducting groundbreaking work developing new polymers that offer hope for more effective vaccines and treatments for life-threatening diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and more.