A lot of the research conducted in powerful magnets ends up having a powerful effect on our day-to-day lives.
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.
Across disciplines, exciting stuff happens along the boundaries between things. What makes those realms so rich for research, and how do magnets shed light on them?
The National MagLab is known for its world-record magnets, like the 45-tesla hybrid magnet — the strongest on the planet.
But for some physics experiments, there’s another critical ingredient to good results: extremely cold temperatures. And thanks to a fancy cooling machine called the portable dilution refrigerator (dil fridge, or PDF, for short), the National MagLab is able to offer a potent combination of experimental conditions unique in the world.
This month, the PDF is set up in one of our magnets, allowing scientists to observe what happens to materials when they are under magnetic fields as high as 35 teslas and at temperatures just above absolute zero (-459 degrees Fahrenheit or -273 degrees Celsius).
Leveraging the cooling power of liquid helium, the PDF removes thermal energy from the materials the researchers are studying. “This allows scientists to see the physical properties of materials, such as quantized energy states and quantum phase transitions,” said MagLab physicist Hongwoo Baek, who is in charge of the apparatus.
“If you add magnetic fields,” Baek continued, “you will also see magnetic properties, such as magnetic phase transitions, and other detailed electronic features that are not normally shown at zero field, that can be utilized in future electronics and applications.”
The National MagLab is the only place scientists can throw that one-two punch of very high fields and very low temperatures.
“Many institutes have 20-millikelvin dilution refrigerators, and some have 35-tesla magnets,” said Baek, “but none of them can provide the experimental platform with 20 millikelvin and 35- to 45-tesla magnet together.”
The MagLab system offers another big bonus: it can rotate samples within the magnetic field without generating much heat, allowing the sample to align to the magnetic field and stay nice and cold.
Over the next few weeks, research groups from Rice University, Princeton University, Northwestern University, the University of Cambridge and the MagLab will conduct experiments in this unique setup, studying phenomena ranging from the fractional quantum Hall states to exotic magnetic phase transitions of various materials.
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Text by Kristen Coyne. Photo by Stephen Bilenky.
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