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.

28 April 2021

First Science from the 75T Duplex Magnet

Duplex magnets use two independent coils powered by capacitor banks to reduce the driven voltages and provide more design flexibility to maximize the generated magnetic fields. The Pulsed Field Facility developed such a duplex magnet to generate magnetic field up to 76.8 Tesla using existing 16-kV, 4-MJ capacitor bank (cap-bank) that now provides important information on a new state of matter in YbB12.

28 April 2021

Structure of Boron-Based Catalysts from 11B Solid-State NMR at 35.2T

Measurements performed at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory provide unique insight into molecular structure of next-generation catalysts for the production of the widely used industrial chemical, propene.

29 March 2021

Sunlight Produces Water-Soluble Chemicals from Asphalt

Road asphalt is made from aggregate (rocks) mixed with a "binder” from the residue remaining after extraction of gasoline and oils from petroleum crude oil. Until recently, this binder was thought to be chemically unreactive. Maglab scientists subjected a thin film of asphalt binder to simulated sunlight in the laboratory and used ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry to reveal thousands of new, water-soluble chemicals that could be released into the environment by rainfall.

26 March 2021

Tracking the Potential for Damage in Nb3Sn Superconducting Coils from the Hardness of Surrounding Copper

High field superconductor magnets greater than 10 T made from brittle Nb3Sn superconducting wires need special attention to their assembly, strength and endurance. This new study of damage in Nb3Sn superconducting wire from prototype accelerator coils built at CERN provides a path to designing better superconductor cables for the next generation of higher field accelerator magnets.

26 March 2021

Broadening Participation in DC Field Facility by Bridging a Research Infrastructure Gap

Researchers based at four-year colleges and universities outside of the Research-1 (R1) tier face more obstacles to performing research than their colleagues from R1 universities or national laboratories with robust research infrastructures. Recognizing the need to bridge this infrastructure gap, the MagLab's DC Field Facility expanded access by adding two low-field magnet systems. These "on-ramp" systems facilitate critical access to materials research instrumentation by faculty and students from non-R1 institutions.

11 February 2021

Strong Magnetic Coupling in Molecular Magnets through Direct Metal-Metal Bonds

An exciting advance of interest to future molecular-scale information storage. By using the uniquely high frequency Electron Magnetic Resonance techniques available at the MagLab, researchers have found single molecule magnets that feature direct metal orbital overlap (instead of weak superexchange interactions), resulting in behavior similar to metallic feromagnets that is far more suitable to future technologies than previous molecular magnets.

11 February 2021

Ninety Teslas Peek Under the Superconducting Dome of a High-Temperature Superconductor

Physics does not yet know why copper-based superconductors (cuprates) conduct electrical current without dissipation at unprecedentedly high temperatures. Ultra high magnetic fields are used here to suppress superconductivity in a cuprate near absolute zero temperature, revealing an underlying transition to an electronic phase that might be the cause of the superconductivity.

11 February 2021

Special High-Strength Conductor Testing Improves Future Pulsed Magnet Lifespan

Three non-destructive testing methods are developed for inspection of high strength, high conductivity wires which are used to wind ultra-high field pulsed magnets at the National MagLab. We expect the lifetime of future magnets to exceed those of past magnets due to these improvements in quality control.

19 January 2021

Incipient Formation of Wigner Crystal in Strongly Interacting 2D Holes

This highlight reports on the still poorly understood transition to an electron crystalline state (the Wigner crystal) in a two-dimensional system at extremely low densities, observable at low temperatures as a function of magnetic field. This experiment finds a surprising stabilization of the Wigner crystal arising from magnetic-field-induced spin alignment. Such electrically-delicate samples require the ultra-low-noise environment and experimental techniques available at the High B/T facility.

19 January 2021

"Test Coil Zero" on the Path to 40T

A recent test coil with more than 1300 meters of conductor successfully demonstrated a new winding technique for insulated REBCO technology and was fatigue cycled to high strain for hundreds of cycles. This is the MagLab's first "two-in-hand" wound coil and the first fatigue cycling test of a coil of this size, both of which are very important milestones on the path to a 40T user magnet.

19 January 2021

Probing a Purported Spin Nematic State Utilizing the World Record 32T All-Superconducting Magnet

Nuclear magnetic resonance measurements were performed in the all-new 32 T superconducting magnet in an effort to confirm a new quantum state. Results confirm the game-changing nature of this magnet.

29 December 2020

Spectroscopic Decomposition Reveals Mangetization Mechanism in Multiferrroic Lutetium Iron Oxide Superlattices

Using electric fields as a switch to control the magnetism of a material is one of the goals behind the study of multiferroics. This work explores the microscopic origins of high temperature magnetism in one such material through the use of optical techniques in high magnetic fields, an approach that could help researchers understand magnetism in a large class of materials.

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.

Page 1 of 2