You are here


Laura H. Lewis

Distinguished University and Cabot Professor, Chemical Engineering
447 Snell Engineering Center
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115


Joined the Chemical Engineering Department in Spring 2007.

Magnetic materials are ubiquitous in society, providing functionality to advanced devices, sensors and motors of every kind. As the magnetic force maintains strength over large distances, it allows for communication between components that are physically separated. This unique property permits the conversion of electrical to mechanical energy, assists microwave devices in telecommunications, transmits and distributes electric power and provides the basis for data storage systems. Magnetic materials are increasingly employed in medical applications, not only in NMR diagnostic equipment but also in specialized targeted cancer treatments and drug delivery protocols. It is anticipated that specialized engineering of magnetic materials and careful tailoring of their properties will enable a new generation of stronger and more responsive materials and devices that can significantly impact the way we use and store energy.

Current research is devoted to understanding magnetostructural transitions, which comprise simultaneous magnetic and structural phase changes. These transitions are attracting new attention due to the recognition that they underlie an assortment of “extreme” phenomena with important technological implications, such as Colossal Magnetoresistance (CMR) of interest for magnetic sensors in the recording industry; the giant Magnetocaloric Effect (MCE) under intense development for CFC-free magnetic refrigeration, and exceptional magnetomechanical behavior for actuators. Magnetostructural transitions may be driven by multitude of physical inputs (magnetic field, temperature, pressure, electric field), implying they may be manipulated to yield a tailored functional response. Our research employs advanced materials probes and techniques (magnetic measurement, advanced electron microscopy and specialized synchrotron scattering and spectroscopic techniques) that are available both at Northeastern University and at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, New York.


  • B.A. (Physics with Specialization in Earth Sciences) University of California, San Diego, 1985
  • M.S. (Electronic Materials) Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1988
  • Ph.D. (Materials Science and Engineering) University of Texas at Austin, 1993

Research & Scholarship Interests

Structure-property relationships in magnetofunctional materials for energy transformations including advanced permanent magnet materials and magnetocaloric materials; strategic materials for technological application
Affiliated With

Department Research Areas

College Research Initiatives

Selected Publications

  • B.D. Plouffe, S.K. Murthy, L.H. Lewis, Fundamentals and Application of Magnetic Particles in Cell Isolation and Enrichment: A Review, Reports on Progress in Physics, 78(1), 2015, 016601
  • L.H. Lewis, F.E. Pinkerton, et al., De Magnete et Meteorite: Cosmically-Motivated Materials, IEEE Magnetics Letters, 5, 2014
  • R. McCallum, L.H. Lewis, R. Skomski, M.J. Kramer, I.E. Anderson, Practical Aspects of Modern and Future Permanent Magnets, Annual Review of Materials Research, 44(1), 2014, 451-477
  • L.H. Lewis, F. Jiménez-Villacorta, Perspectives on Permanent Magnetic Materials for Energy Conversion and Power Generation, Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A, 44(1), 2013, 2-20
  • G. Srajer, L.H. Lewis, S.D. Bader, et al., Advances in Nanomagnetism via X-ray Techniques, Review Article, Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, 307(1), 2006, 1-31

Related News

June 25, 2019

ChE/MIE Professor Laura Lewis was awarded a patent for developing a method to create "Rare earth-free permanent magnetic material".

July 26, 2018

ChE/MIE Professor Laura Lewis and ECE Professor Vincent Harris are working on alternatives to rare-earth metals which are used from everything from smartphones to guided missiles to reduce our reliance on China.

July 17, 2018

The University of Texas at Austin has selected ChE/MIE Professor Laura Lewis as one of the “2018 Mechanical Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni Honorees”.