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Cobalt-Based Amorphous Core Technology: Innovations and Challenges

by:Catech      2023-08-06

Cobalt-Based Amorphous Core Technology: Innovations and Challenges


Amorphous core technology has emerged as a significant innovation in the field of power electronics. With the increasing demand for energy-efficient transformers and inductors, researchers have focused on developing alternative materials that can enhance the performance of these devices. Cobalt-based amorphous cores have gained attention due to their unique properties and potential for high-frequency applications. This article explores the latest innovations in cobalt-based amorphous core technology while addressing the associated challenges.

Understanding Amorphous Core Technology:

Amorphous core technology involves the use of metallic alloys in the form of thin ribbons instead of traditional laminated cores in transformers and inductors. Unlike crystalline materials, amorphous alloys do not possess a regular atomic structure, making them highly magnetically permeable. Cobalt, as a base material, has become a focus for amorphous core research due to its excellent magnetic properties and high saturation flux density.

Advantages of Cobalt-Based Amorphous Cores:

1. Increased Efficiency: Cobalt-based amorphous cores exhibit lower core losses compared to silicon steel laminations, resulting in higher efficiency transformers. This characteristic allows for reduced energy consumption and improved performance.

2. Wide Frequency Range: Unlike conventional cores, cobalt-based amorphous cores retain their magnetic properties at high frequencies, making them suitable for applications that require a wide frequency range.

3. Compact Size and Weight: The use of cobalt-based amorphous cores enables the design of smaller and lighter transformers and inductors without compromising performance. This advantage is particularly important for applications with limited space, such as electric vehicles.

4. Lower Noise Levels: The absence of magnetic domains in cobalt-based amorphous cores significantly reduces the audible noise generated during the operation of transformers.

Innovations in Cobalt-Based Amorphous Core Technology:

1. Nanocrystalline Cores: Researchers have been exploring the combined use of nanocrystalline and amorphous materials to enhance the magnetic properties of cobalt-based amorphous cores. By introducing nanocrystalline elements, such as iron, into the amorphous cobalt-based core composition, researchers have achieved higher saturation flux density and improved energy efficiency.

2. Thickness Reduction: Innovations in manufacturing techniques have led to the development of cobalt-based amorphous cores with reduced thickness. Thinner ribbons result in lower core losses and improved performance. Researchers have successfully produced ribbons of less than 20 micrometers in thickness, opening avenues for further size reduction and increased efficiency.

3. High-Frequency Applications: Cobalt-based amorphous cores have been traditionally used in power transformers operating at low frequencies. However, recent innovations have focused on extending their use to high-frequency applications. With appropriate core design and fabrication processes, cobalt-based amorphous cores have shown promising results in high-frequency transformers and inductors.

4. Multilayer Structures: Another innovation in cobalt-based amorphous core technology involves the use of multilayer structures. By stacking multiple layers of amorphous ribbons, researchers have achieved enhanced magnetic performance and reduced core losses. Multilayer structures also help mitigate the impact of eddy currents, enabling efficient operation at high frequencies.

5. Thermal Stability: Cobalt-based amorphous cores have exhibited excellent thermal stability, withstanding temperatures up to 200C without significant degradation in performance. This characteristic is vital for applications that require high-temperature operation, such as in electric vehicle charging stations and renewable energy systems.

Challenges in Cobalt-Based Amorphous Core Technology:

1. Cost: Cobalt is a relatively expensive material compared to silicon steel laminations commonly used in transformers. The higher cost of cobalt-based amorphous cores presents a challenge for commercialization and widespread adoption of this technology. Researchers are actively working on exploring new alloy compositions and fabrication techniques to reduce the overall cost.

2. Fabrication Techniques: The production of cobalt-based amorphous cores involves rapid solidification techniques, such as melt spinning or sputtering. These methods require specialized equipment and controlled manufacturing environments, adding complexity and cost to the fabrication process. Developing scalable and cost-effective fabrication techniques remains a challenge.

3. Magnetization Losses: Cobalt-based amorphous cores may experience magnetization losses at high operating frequencies due to the eddy currents induced within the material. Researchers are investigating methods to mitigate these losses, such as optimizing core geometry and introducing appropriate coatings to suppress eddy current effects.

4. Brittle Nature: Amorphous alloys, including cobalt-based cores, have a relatively brittle nature, making them susceptible to mechanical damage during handling or environmental stress. Researchers are exploring ways to enhance the mechanical properties of cobalt-based amorphous cores, ensuring their robustness and reliability in practical applications.


Cobalt-based amorphous core technology represents a significant advancement in the field of power electronics. With its inherent advantages of increased efficiency, compact size, and wide frequency range, this technology holds great potential for various applications. Through ongoing innovations in nanocrystalline cores, thickness reduction, multilayer structures, and high-frequency operation, researchers are addressing the challenges associated with cobalt-based amorphous cores. Despite the obstacles of cost, fabrication techniques, magnetization losses, and brittleness, continued research and development efforts are expected to pave the way for the widespread adoption of cobalt-based amorphous cores, revolutionizing the power electronics industry.

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