32 Tesla All-Superconducting Magnet

The first REBCO coil for the 32 tesla magnet. The first REBCO coil for the 32 tesla magnet. Stephen Bilenky

When completed in 2016, this magnet will be the world's most powerful superconducting magnet — by a long shot.

The strongest superconducting user magnet in the world currently has a field strength of 23.5 tesla. When this ambitious project is completed in 2016, the strongest superconducting magnet on the planet will be housed at the MagLab. At 32 tesla, it will be a whopping 8.5 tesla stronger than the current record – a giant leap in a technology that, since the 1960s, has seen only baby steps of 0.5 to 1 tesla. In June 2015, a test for the 32 tesla magnet set a new world record of 27 teslas for an all-superconducting magnet.

Project Specs
Strength 32 tesla
Type All superconducting
Cold bore size

34 mm

Projected completion 2016

YBCO (2 coils), Niobium-Tin (3 coils), and Niobium-Titanium (2 coils)


2.3 tons


National Science Foundation / Florida State University

The groundbreaking instrument will considerably reduce the cost of scientific experiments and make high-field research accessible to more scientists. The system will also support decades worth of new science. Due in large part to the quieter environment a superconducting magnet offers over a resistive magnet of equivalent strength, the 32 tesla will help scientists break new ground in nuclear magnetic resonance, electron magnetic resonance, molecular solids, quantum oscillation studies of complex metals, fractional quantum Hall effect and other areas.

Begun in 2009, the project represents a breakthrough in superconducting magnet technology on many fronts. Among other innovations, it combines low-temperature superconductors commonly used in today’s superconducting magnets - niobium tin and niobium titanium -- with “YBCO,” a superconducting ceramic composed of yttrium, barium, copper and oxygen. Although YBCO-coated conductors in this case operate at the same temperature and in the same helium bath as their metallic counterparts, they remain superconducting far above the practical magnetic field limits inherent to niobium-based superconductors. For this reason, YBCO can also be called a high-field superconductor; it superconducts at far higher temperatures than niobium-based materials but, like all superconductors, performs best at very low temperatures.

The 32 tesla will be the first high-field magnet available to researchers to incorporate YBCO, a finicky material a few commercial companies have been developing for years in collaboration with MagLab engineers and scientists. The finished, 2.3-ton magnet system will feature about 6 miles of YBCO tape, formed into 112 disc-shaped “pancakes.” Two inner coils of YBCO, fabricated at the MagLab will be surrounded by a commercial outsert consisting of three coils of niobium-tin and two coils of niobium-titanium.

The new magnet will particularly be more attractive for users whose experiments require lower noise and longer running times than the resistive magnets can offer, while the relatively fast ramp-rate of 32 T/hour in this superconducting magnet also allow for many field sweeps per day.

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Staff Contacts

Project manager Huub Weijers or magnet designer Denis Markiewicz.

Last modified on 30 September 2016