What's That?

What's That?

The MagLab is full of weird contraptions. Find out what they are, how they work and why we need them.

1400 Megavolt Ampere Generator

The Pulsed Field Facility's 240-ton generator is so massive and so powerful that it can't sit on the ground.

Bus Room

Sure, it looks a subway tunnel for giants. But while MagLab's bus tunnel is used for transportation, it's not the kind of transportation you're thinking of.

Cable-in-Conduit Winding Spool

This high-tech spool is one big bobbin.


The Magnet Lab relies on four chillers for the big job of keeping the biggest magnets cool.

Current Leads

To get millions of watts of electricity into our magnets, we need a couple of these.


This important container protects people in the lab from Oxygen Deficiency Syndrome.

Diamond Anvil Cell

Diamonds are a scientist's best friend — especially if that scientist needs to compress a material.

Dilution Refrigerator

Dilution fridges owe their cooling power to the incredible element helium. This animation illustrates how dil fridges exploit the element's properties to make things very, very cold.

Faraday Cage

A faraday cage is an important tool for some scientists at the MagLab. But they don't work with it — they work inside it.

Helium Recovery Bag

These bags are part of a recovery project that helps control the lab's helium bill.

HiPER 9 Tesla Magnet

Stroll by physicist Steve Hill's lab on the MagLab's first floor, and you're likely to stop short and stare. That's how most folks react when they first see HiPER.

Image Furnace

Scientists use image furnaces to grow crystals at very high temperatures; a built-in camera allows them to observe in action a delicate process that is equal parts art and science.

Lithium Niobate

This crystal isn't just pretty; it's at the core of modern communication.


Without this instrument, the lab's high powered magnets would be useless.

Resin Bed

This modest-looking tank is a MagLab hero in disguise.

Water Cooling Towers

You could grow quite a garden with all the water we store at the MagLab. But we prefer to use it to keep our magnets cool.