Dysprosium electrodeposition from a hexaalkylguanidinium-based ionic liquid†
The rare-earth element dysprosium (Dy) is an important additive that increases the magnetocrystalline anisotropy of neodymium magnets and additionally prevents from demagnetizing at high temperatures. Therefore, it is one of the most important elements for high-tech industries and is mainly used in permanent magnetic applications, for example in electric vehicles, industrial motors and direct-drive wind turbines. In an effort to develop a more efficient electrochemical technique for depositing Dy on Nd-magnets in contrast to commonly used costly physical vapor deposition, we investigated the electrochemical behavior of dysprosium(III) trifluoromethanesulfonate in a custom-made guanidinium-based room-temperature ionic liquid (RTIL). We first examined the electrodeposition of Dy on an Au(111) model electrode. The investigation was carried out by means of cyclic voltammetry (CV) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The initial stages of metal deposition were followed by in situ scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). CV measurements revealed a large cathodic reduction peak, which corresponds to the growth of monoatomic high islands, based on STM images taken during the initial stages of deposition. XPS identified these deposited islands as dysprosium. A similar reduction peak was also observed on an Nd–Fe–B substrate, and positively identified as deposited Dy using XPS. Finally, we varied the concentration of the Dy precursor, electrolyte flow and temperature during Dy deposition and demonstrated that each of these parameters could be used to increase the thickness of the Dy deposit, suggesting that these parameters could be tuned simultaneously in a temperature-controlled flow cell to enhance the thickness of the Dy layer.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Electrochemical processes at the nanoscale: from fundamentals to applications