Because of their unique magnetic, luminescent, and electrochemical properties, these elements help make many technologies perform with reduced weight, emissions, and energy consumption, and give them greater efficiency, performance, miniaturization, speed, durability, and thermal stability.
Rare earth-enabled products and technologies help to fuel global economic growth, maintain high standards of living, and save lives.
Rare earth elements are used extensively in these industries:
Aerospace and Defense
Rare earth elements are indispensable in many electronic, optical and magnetic applications. Rare earth magnets are incredibly powerful; some can retain their magnetic strength at high-temperatures, making them ideal for commercial and aerospace applications. Rare earth elements are also used for lasers and resolution technologies. These technologies are critical to modern aerospace systems.
Rare earth permanent magnets have facilitated an evolution in health and medical technology. They produce a powerful magnetic field used in medical imaging devices, such as MRIs, that enable doctors to diagnose illnesses that otherwise would be much harder to detect. Rare earth elements are also used in many modern surgical machines, such as those for robot-assisted surgeries. They are used in pioneering technologies, such as cochlear implants. Yttrium is used in solid state lasers and in cancer-treating drugs. They are essential to modern medicine.
Rare earth elements are used in many advanced energy technologies, including wind turbines, electric car batteries and energy-efficient lights, which help to reduce CO2 and other emissions Rare earth elements are essential to both compact fluorescent lighting (CFLs), LED lighting and fiber optics. One emerging technology using rare earth magnets, magnetic refrigeration, could potentially improve the energy efficiency of refrigerators for home and commercial use. Rare earths are critical to our new energy technologies.
Rare earth elements enable faster, smaller, and lighter products such as cell phones and computer hard drives. They make color displays more vivid in televisions, computer screens, and other devices. They are also important for in-ear headphones, microphones, loudspeakers, optical fibers, smartphones, and tablet computers. They enable us to continually improve our communications and computing capabilities.
Transportation and Vehicles
Rare earth magnets have many uses in automobiles, especially in new generation vehicles designed to reduce energy consumption. For instance, they are used in the electric motors of many hybrid cars and electric vehicles and in batteries to help power them. They are found in catalytic converters in cars and can help reduce harmful air pollutants.
Chemicals, Oil Refining and Manufacturing
Rare earths are vital in many chemical and manufacturing processes. They make the refining of crude oil into gasoline more efficient and are used in many specialty metal alloys. They are critical to these industries worldwide.