7 May 2015

MagLab veteran takes the helm of lab's ICR Facility

Chris Hendrickson has been named director of lab's ICR Facility, just as the facility prepares to unveil a new world-record instrument built according to his design.

New ICR Director Chris Hendrickson with the world-record 21 tesla ICR magnet.

Chris Hendrickson

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A National MagLab veteran considered the world's top authority on the complex instrumentation required for certain mass spectrometry experiments is rising to the top spot in the lab's Ion Cyclotron Resonance (ICR) Facility.

Chris Hendrickson has been named director of the MagLab's ICR Facility, one of seven user facilities at the MagLab. About 140 scientists a year travel from across the globe to access the facility's world-record magnets — and the world-class expertise that goes with them — located in Tallahassee, Florida.

"Chris brings outstanding talents and insights to his new position, built from many years of experience since 1995, when he first became a member of the lab's ICR group," said MagLab Director Greg Boebinger.

In the ICR Facility, scientists use the lab's powerful magnets with machines called mass spectrometers to examine complex materials such as petroleum, alternative fuels, proteins and more. These experiments essentially weigh every single molecule of the material so that researchers studying a variety of environmental, health and other problems can better understand them.

"It is an honor and privilege to be able to serve the ICR program and the MagLab in this capacity," said Hendrickson, who first came to the lab as a postdoc. "I look forward to continued success and growth of the ICR user facility, and to the exciting new potential of our 21 tesla FT-ICR mass spectrometer."

That "21 T," as that instrument is called for short, is the lab's latest hot-shot magnet (T stands for tesla, a unit of magnetic field strength). It is the strongest magnet in the world used for Fourier Transform - Ion Cyclotron Resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR), significantly stronger than the previous record holder, a 15 T. It is also Hendrickson's baby.

"Chris Hendrickson is the leading world authority on FT-ICR MS instrumentation, and is the chief designer for the MagLab's 21 tesla FT-ICR mass spectrometer, which has already set new benchmarks for mass resolution and accuracy," said Alan Marshall, chief scientist for ICR at the lab and co-inventor of the field.

MagLab scientists and engineers are making final modifications to the new 21 T system, which will become available for scientists, and ground-breaking discoveries, later this summer.

"These are exciting times for the ICR Facility, with fantastic scientific opportunities awaiting in petroleum and alternative fuels, environmental studies, proteomics and biological applications," said Boebinger. "With the new 21 T magnet and upgrades to other magnets, we have great promise to continue to lead the world in technique development in FT-ICR."

The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory is the world’s largest and highest-powered magnet facility. Located at Florida State University, the University of Florida and Los Alamos National Laboratory, the interdisciplinary National MagLab hosts scientists from around the world to perform basic research in high magnetic fields, advancing our understanding of materials, energy and life. The lab is funded by the National Science Foundation (DMR-1157490) and the state of Florida. For more information, visit us online at nationalmaglab.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest at NationalMagLab.