Director for Scientific Instrumentation and Operations

Since 1993, Scott Hannahs has played an instrumental role in developing the DC Field user program at the National MagLab. Prior to that he spent four years at the Francis Bitter National Magnet Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since receiving his Ph.D. at UCLA in ultra-low temperature superfluid acoustics, Hannahs has conducted research in most high magnetic field research areas, including organic superconductivity, high-temperature superconductivity, 2D electron gas systems, heavy fermions, correlated electron systems and geometrically frustrated spin systems.

Hannahs' expertise in cryogenics and instrumentation development at the MagLab has led to several collaborations with industry and an R&D 100 award. He has developed ultra-sensitive instrumentation for measurements at extremes of pressure, temperature and magnetic fields. A Florida State University Distinguished University Scholar, Hannahs is also a fellow of the American Physical Society, has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers and has served on several national and international facilities review committees.

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Photo credit: Stephen Bilenky

Director of Magnet Science and Technology

Bird received his bachelor’s degree with high honors in mechanics in 1988 from Michigan State University, after spending part of his junior year at the Rheinische-Westphaelische Technische Hochschule in Aachen, Germany, studying boundary integral methods in solid mechanics with Prof. Dr. Ulrich Heisse. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 1989 and 1992, respectively, from Stanford University where he held a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship. His thesis research was analytic work on the interaction of circular inhomogeneities in harmonic and biharmonic problems with Charles Steele.

Bird then joined the National MagLab as head of the resistive magnet program and led the development of the Florida-Bitter magnet technology and numerous world-record resistive magnets at the MagLab as well as a few magnets in Europe and Asia. By 2000 he was also leading magnet development projects using superconducting and pulsed field technology.

In 2006 Bird became director of the MagLab’s Magnet Science and Technology division and the principal investigator on resistive/superconducting hybrid magnet projects, which produced the highest fields worldwide for neutron scattering (Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin) and for condensed matter nuclear magnetic resonance (the MagLab's 36-tesla Series Connected Hybrid).

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Photo credit: Stephen Bilenky

Deputy Lab Director

Eric Palm received his master's degree and Ph.D. in physics from Texas A&M University, where he won the Squire Fellowship. His thesis involved studying quantum interference effects in unique semiconductor devices at low temperatures in strong magnetic fields. He had previously received a B.A. in physics from Rice University and taught physics at a high school in Houston. After completing his Ph.D., Palm received a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship to study the quantum Hall effect at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. When the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory opened its doors in Tallahassee in 1993, Palm was one of the first scientists hired in the DC Field Facility. He served as the Millikelvin Facility chief in charge of creating experimental apparatus capable of cooling a sample to less than 20 thousandths of a degree above absolute zero while in the highest magnetic fields in the world. In 2007 Palm became director of the DC Field Facility, the largest of the facilities at the MagLab. In 2012 he was named deputy laboratory director of the MagLab working in partnership with the director to ensure that the lab is performing at the highest level possible. Palm has over 50 publications and his research interests include unconventional superconductivity and highly correlated electronic systems.

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Photo credit: Dave Barfield

MagLab Director

Boebinger received bachelor’s degrees in physics, electrical engineering and philosophy in 1981 from Purdue University. With a Churchill Scholarship, he traveled to the University of Cambridge for one year of research under Professor Sir Richard Friend, studying one-dimensional organic superconductors. He received his Ph.D. in physics in 1986 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he held Compton and Hertz Foundation Fellowships. His thesis research utilized high magnetic fields and ultra-low temperatures to study the fractional quantum Hall effect with Nobel Laureates Horst Stormer and Dan Tsui.

Boebinger then spent a year as a NATO Postdoctoral Fellow in Paris at the École Normale Supérieure. In 1987, he joined Bell Laboratories, where he studied correlated electron systems, including high-temperature superconductors, using pulsed magnetic fields. In 1998, he moved to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to head the National MagLab’s Pulsed Field Facility.

In 2004, Boebinger moved to Florida State University (FSU) to become director of the MagLab, with responsibility for all three campuses: FSU, LANL and the University of Florida (UF). Boebinger is also a professor of physics at FSU and UF.

Greg Boebinger is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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Photo credit: Dave Barfield

The lab's leadership team works collaboratively to support and advance the scientific mission of the National MagLab.

Paul Dunk, a chemist in the MagLab's Ion Cyclotron Resonance Facility, has published a paper on so-called "nanocages" formed by combining graphite, a two-dimensional form of carbon, with different metals. The research, Transformation of doped graphite into cluster-encapsulated fullerene cages, appeared this week in Nature Communications.

For the research, Dunk and his collaborators created metallofullerenes, molecules that consist of a ball-like carbon structure that encompasses several atoms inside of it — hence the term "nanocage."

Dunk and his colleagues tested theories of how these compounds form by looking for hypothesized intermediate molecules between the original reactants and end products. They demonstrated that, unlike what many scientists believed, the cages do not shrink from or break off of larger globs of carbon, but rather nucleate around the metal, carbon atom by carbon atom.

The findings could help in the future development of nanocage-related technologies ranging from new light-based electronics to molecular electronics.

Dunk's research was done in collaboration with scientists at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain and the University of Texas at El Paso.

Read more about this research in the MagLab's fields magazine.

Image of nanocages by Paul Dunk/Caroline McNiel.

The DOE effort foresees a slew of health, environmental and safety applications.

MagLab-affiliated researcher and FAMU-FSU College of Engineering faculty member Subramanian Ramakrishnan has received a prestigious Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) grant from the National Science Foundation.

The five-year, $4.9 million grant will establish the Center for Complex Materials Design for Multidimensional Additive Processing (known as the CoManD Center). This new center will tap into expertise of researchers at Florida A&M Univeristy (FAMU), the College of Engineering and the National MagLab to advance manufacturing at the micrometer scale for biological, aerospace and energy applications.

In association with the National MagLab, Ramakrishnan will direct the center’s first project, which focuses on developing nanostructured lightweight materials for shielding and sensing applications. Industrial Engineering Professor Tarik Dickens will direct the center’s second subproject, which will consist of developing materials/devices for energy applications in association with the High Performance Materials Institute. Pharmaceutics Professor Mandip Singh Sachdeva will direct the center’s third subproject, which includes developing materials/devices for biological applications such as a 3D printed tumor biosystem on a chip.

"The uniqueness of this award is the synergy between universities, national labs and defense labs," Ramakrishnan explained.

In addition to research, the grant will help support undergraduate courses based on the fundamentals of self-assembly, nanoparticle synthesis and characterization, additive manufacturing, nanomaterials in biology, and nanoparticles in medicine. The courses will be developed and offered to FAMU students. Also, a laboratory course in materials will be offered to graduate and undergraduate students involved in materials research. The center will work to produce 15 doctorate students, directly impact 40 undergraduates, and influence 100 graduate students and 300 additional undergraduates through collaborations and coursework.

Story by Kristin Roberts.

Looking at environmental changes that occurred in ancient Earth, a research team finds new evidence of how the planet may handle excess carbon dioxide in the future.

Looking for ways to make better superconductors for the next-generation particle accelerators, a young scientist homed in on how they were heat-treated. He was getting warmer.

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