22 August 2011

Researchers reach world-record 97.4 tesla magnetic field

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Los Alamos, NM— In a three-second span on Friday, August 19, researchers and engineers at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Los Alamos National Lab created a 97.4 Tesla magnetic field—the highest non-destructive magnetic field in the world.

The previous record, 91.4 Tesla, was set in June of this year by the High Magnetic Field Laboratory Dresden. "Tesla" is a measurement of the strength of a magnetic field; 1 Tesla is equal to 20,000 times the Earth's magnetic field.

This record marks important progress toward the lab's goal of reaching 100 Tesla, an effort that awaits further materials innovation to make it possible. The project is funded by the 100 Tesla Multi-Shot Program, a joint initiative of the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy's Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

"Years of effort by the best technical staff, engineers and scientists have gone into this achievement. This capability marks a significant milestone in the ability of US science to unravel the complex nature of materials that our future may depend on," said Pulsed Field Facility Director Chuck Mielke.

The record-breaking field was created by upgrading the lab's existing 85 T pulsed magnet system, previously tested to just over 89 Tesla. Pulsed magnets, designed for condensed matter physics research, require a combination of a very large power supply and extremely high-strength materials.

Visiting scientists- dubbed users- travel from institutions around the world to conduct research at the Pulsed Field Facility. High magnetic fields are an important resource for physicists interested in studying fundamental properties of materials, from metals and superconductors to semiconductors and insulators, and extremely high fields enable insight into ever-subtler phenomena. This magnet will be available for user research at 92 Tesla.