Science Highlights

These monthly highlights, selected by MagLab Director Greg Boebinger, represent the most promising and cutting-edge research underway in the lab’s seven user facilities.

18 November 2020

Using Magnetic Resonance to Probe Lipid Synthesis in Response to Ketogenic Diet

Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and its progression to more serious diseases will become the main cause for liver transplant in the next 5 years. Here, researchers used deuterium magnetic resonance to study dietary influences on lipid synthesis demonstrating that high fat ketogenic diets significantly slow de novo lipogenesis, a process by which excess carbohydrates are covered into fatty acids and stored as triacylglycerols.

18 November 2020

Spontaneous "Valley Magnetization" in an Atomically-thin Semiconductor

Interactions between electrons underpin some of the most interesting – and useful -- effects in materials science and condensed-matter physics. This work demonstrates that, in the new family of so-called "monolayer semiconductors" that are only one atomic layer thick, electron-electron interactions can lead to the sudden and spontaneous formation of a magnetized state, analogous to the appearance of magnetism in conventional materials like iron.

16 October 2020

Prefractionation of Intact Proteins for Mass Spectrometry

Analysis of intact proteins using mass spectrometry is a difficult task that can be simplified by prefractionation, a process in which protein mixtures are separated into simpler fractions based on size. Here, researchers developed a new method, PEPPI-MS, which uses low-cost materials and common lab equipment to make an important protein separation strategy widely available.

16 October 2020

Probing Metal Organic Frameworks with 17O NMR at 35.2 T

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are porous materials with high surface areas that can host a variety of different guest molecules, leading to applications in catalysis, drug delivery, chemical separation, fuel cells, and data storage. In order to design better MOFs, knowledge of their molecular-level structures is crucial. At the MagLab, the highest-field NMR spectrometer in the world was used to probe the complex structures of MOFs both "as built" and as they exist when other "guest" molecules are inserted inside the framework.

6 October 2020

Spin-Charge Interconversion at Near-Terahertz Frequencies

This work reports the first observation of the dynamical generation of a spin polarized current from an antiferromagnetic material into an adjacent non-magnetic material and its subsequent conversion into electrical signals

6 October 2020

Tunable Weyl Fermions in Chiral Tellurene in High Magnetic Fields

Topology, screws, spin and hedgehogs are words not normally found in the same scientific article but with the discovery of Weyl fermions in thin tellurine films they actually belong together. The work in this highlight describes how Qui et. al. used the unique properties of tellurine and high magnetic fields to identify the existence of Weyl fermions in a semiconductor. This discovery opens a new window into the intriguing world to topological materials.

1 September 2020

Deuterium Magnetic Resonance Can Detect Cancer Metabolism

Magnetic resonance of cancer cell metabolism is a novel technique to discern between cancerous and normal liver cells, providing a promising approach for cancer stage progression imaging without the harmful exposure of radiation.

1 September 2020

Hidden Magnetism Revealed in a Cuprate Superconductor

This research clarifies fundamental relationships between magnetism, superconductivity and the nature of the enigmatic “pseudogap state" in cuprate superconductors. The discovery provides an additional puzzle piece in the theoretical understanding of high-temperature superconductors - a key towards improving and utilizing these materials for technological applications.

28 July 2020

Smart Non-Linear Transport Technique Expands the Frontier of Superconductor Research

Superconductors conduct large amounts of electricity without losses. They are also used to create very large magnetic fields, for example in MRI machines, to study materials and medicine. Here, researchers developed a fast, new "smart" technique to measure how much current a superconductor can carry using very high pulsed magnetic fields.

28 July 2020

Inducing Magnetic Ring Currents in Non-Magnetic Aromatic Molecules

Magnetic induction is used in technology to convert an applied magnetic field into an electric current and vice versa. Nature also makes extensive use of this principle at the atomic and molecular level giving scientists a window to observe material properties. Using the 25 T Split-Helix magnet, researchers observed changes in the optical properties of organic materials due to currents induced by applied magnetic fields flowing in molecular rings, evidence that could increase the list of materials that could be used in future magnetic technologies.

23 June 2020

Integrated Coil Form Technology for Ultra High Magnetic Fields

Tests of the first Integrated Coil Form test coil wound using REBCO superconducting tape show promise for use in ultra powerful magnets of the future.

1 June 2020

Magnetoelectric coupling at a transition between two spin states

Materials with magnetoelectric coupling - a combination of magnetic and electric properties - have potential applications in low-power magnetic sensing, new computational devices and high-frequency electronics. Here, researchers find a new class of magnetoelectric materials controlled by spin state switching.

23 April 2020

Molecular magnetic building blocks

This study reports the first transition metal compounds featuring mixed fluoride–cyanide ligands. A significant enhancement of the magnetic anisotropy, as compared to the pure fluoride ligated compounds, is demonstrated by combined analysis of high-field electron paramagnetic resonance (HF-EPR) spectroscopy and magnetization measurements.

23 April 2020

REBCO Fatigue testing shows promise for future magnets

Tests of high-temperature superconducting REBCO tapes at 4.2 K showed resistance to cyclic loading, demonstrating that it is a promising material for designing HTS magnets of the future.

23 March 2020

MRI detects brain responses to Alzheimer's disease plaque deposits and inflammation

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of mouse models for Alzheimer’s disease can be used to determine brain response to plaque deposits and inflammation that ultimately disrupt emotion, learning, and memory. Quantification of the early changes with high resolution MRI could help monitor and predict disease progression, as well as potentially suggest new treatment methods.

23 March 2020

Analytical tool for in vivo triple quantum MR signals

Magnetic resonance (MR) signals of sodium and potassium nuclei during ion binding are attracting increased attention as a potential biomarker of in vivo cell energy metabolism. This new analytical tool helps describe and visualize the results of MR experiments in the presence of in vivo ion binding.

23 March 2020

Exploring topological semimetals in high magnetic fields

Topological semimetals are an exciting new area of research due to their number of predicted and unexpected quantum mechanical states. Understanding these materials may also lead to quantum devices that function at near room temperature.

25 February 2020

Record-Breaking Magnetoresistance measured in Natural Graphite

Researchers demonstrate a new record magnetoresistance in graphene by improving the contacting method, which helps improve our understanding of the material and can be useful in future sensors, compasses and other applications.

25 February 2020

Corrosion Analysis on Acidic Crude Oils using FT-ICR

A new method to characterize crude oil corrosion shows that corrosion in acidic crude oils depends on the specific structures of the acid molecules, information that can help improve oil valuation and refining.

31 January 2020

Nuclear Spin Patterning Controls Electron Spin Coherence

Electron spin resonance work shows how transition metal can retain quantum information, important work on the path to next-generation quantum technologies.