Laura H. Lewis

Distinguished University and Cabot Professor,  Chemical Engineering
Distinguished University and Cabot Professor,  Mechanical and Industrial Engineering



  • 447 Snell Engineering Center
  • 617.373.3419


  • 476 SN & 478 SN
  • 617.373.7916

Research Focus

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


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

Honors & Awards

  • Fulbright Scholar (2018, 2019)
  • Fellow, American Physical Society
  • Northeastern University Excellence in Research and Creative Activity Award
  • Chair, Technical Committee of the IEEE Magnetics Society (2017-2019)
  • Conference Editor, IEEE Transactions on Magnetics (2008-2018)
  • NATO Technical Team Member of AVT-231 on “Scarcity of Rare Earth Materials for Electrical Power Systems”
  • US Technical Advisory Group to ISO TC298, Rare Earth
  • International Advisory Committee of the Joint European Magnetics Symposia (JEMS)

Research Overview

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

Nanomagnetism Laboratory

Our group of research scientists, graduate students, and undergraduate students work on a variety of research topics that aim to gain fundamental understandings of process-structure-magnetism correlation in technologically relevant magnetic and electronic materials.

Nanomagnetism Laboratory

Selected Research Projects

  • Lattice-Defective Copper Oxides as a Biocidal Tool for COVID-19 and Beyond
    • – Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation RAPID
  • Sprayable Biocidal Coatings for Tactical Shelters
    • – Co-Principal Investigator, Department of the Army
  • Thermal Management Investigations Into Device-Level Thermal Management with PCMs
    • – Co-Principal Investigator, Raytheon Corporation and ONR

Selected Publications

  • X. Zhang, B.T. Lejeune, R. Barua, R.W. McCallum, L.H. Lewis, Estimating the In-Operando Stabilities of AlFe2b2-Based Compounds for Magnetic Refrigeration, Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 2020, 153693
  • Adib, K.K. Afridi, M. Amirabadi, F. Fateh, M. Ferdowsi, Lehman, L.H. Lewis, B. Mirafzal, M. Saeedifard, M.B. Shadmand, P. Shamsi, E-Mobility—Advancements and Challenges, IEEE Access, 7, 2019, 165226-165240
  • B.T. Lejeune, X. Du, R. Barua, J.C. Zhao, L.H. Lewis Anisotropic Thermal Conductivity of Magnetocaloric AlFe2B2, Materialia, 1, 2018, 150-154


Apr 20, 2021

FY22 TIER 1 Award Recipients

Congratulations to the 17 COE faculty and affiliates who were recipients of FY22 TIER 1 Interdisciplinary Research Seed Grants for 11 different projects.

Laura Lewis


Sep 01, 2020

Creating, Probing and Confirming Tetragonality in Bulk FeNi Alloys

Distinguished University and Cabot Professor Laura Lewis, ChE/MIE, was published in Acta Materialia for research on “Creating, probing and confirming tetragonality in bulk FeNi alloys”.

Laura Lewis


Apr 24, 2020

Developing Materials to Incorporate into Coatings to Kill the COVID-19 Virus on Surfaces for Public Spaces

Distinguished University and Cabot Professor Laura Lewis, ChE/MIE, was awarded a $200K NSF RAPID grant for “Lattice-Defective Copper Oxides as a Biocidal Tool for COVID-19 and Beyond.”


Jun 25, 2019

Creating Rare Earth-Free Permanent Magnets

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


Jul 26, 2018

Developing Alternatives to Rare Earth Materials

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.


Jul 17, 2018

Prof. Laura H. Lewis Selected for the 2018 Mechanical Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni Honorees at UT – Austin

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”.

Apr 24, 2018

Honoring Highest Achievements

Congratulations to the COE faculty and students that were honored at the 2018 Academic Honors Convocation.


Apr 17, 2018

Laura Lewis Appointed University Distinguished Professor

ChE/MIE Professor Laura Lewis has been appointed the rank of University Distinguished Professor, the highest honor the university can bestow upon a faculty member.


Feb 14, 2018

Laura Lewis Invited to Lecture at Magnetism Winter School in Bangkok, Thailand

ChE/MIE Professor Laura Lewis was one of the invited speakers during the Magnetism Winter School 2018.


Nov 20, 2017

Ian McDonald awarded Judge’s Choice in "Magnetism as Art" Showcase

Interdisciplinary PhD student Ian J McDonald of the Nanomagnetism Group, led by ChE/MIE Professor Laura H. Lewis, won the Judge’s Choice in the “Magnetism as Art” Showcase at the Annual Conference on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials.

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