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.

10 April 2019

In-House Fabrication of Outsert Coil 1 for the 100T Pulsed Magnet

Pulsed magnets are designed to operate near their structural limits to be able to generate extremely high magnetic fields. The coils have a limited life expectancy and thus need to be replaced on occasion. Fabrication of these large coils are now being done at the MagLab where advanced nondestructive examinations can be performed. Because of more rigorous quality controls and improvements in high-strength conductors and reinforcement materials, the lifetime of these coils can be extended.

20 March 2019

Scientists identify potential biomarker for brain diseases

With advanced techniques and world-record magnetic fields, researchers have detected new MRI signals from brain tumors.

1 March 2019

"Molecular sieves" could lead to much cheaper gas production

Combining high-field NMR with infrared microscopy, scientists learned more about how gas diffuses in a novel class of molecular sieves that could one day be used for gas separation.

1 March 2019

Researchers demonstrate method for analyzing molecules from bacteria cell walls

Scientists will be able to apply the technique to characterize similar molecules, helping develop vaccines and drugs to treat bacterial infection.

29 January 2019

Even denominator fractional quantum Hall states in graphene

Scientists revealed previously unobserved and unexpected FQH states in monolayer graphene that raise new questions regarding the interaction between electrons in these states.

29 January 2019

Scientists observe molecular movements in T cells

Insights into the structure and movement of T cell surface proteins could lead to new ways to fight cancers, infections and other diseases.

4 January 2019

Uncovering the secrets of fungal cell walls

With unprecedented sensitivity and resolution from state-of-the-art magnets, scientists have identified for the first time the cell wall structure of one of the most prevalent and deadly fungi.

20 November 2018

Superconducting hydride under extreme magnetic fields and pressure

Scientists have long pursued the goal of superconductivity at room temperature. This work opens a route towards one day stabilizing superconductivity at room temperature, which could open tremendous technological opportunities.

19 November 2018

Functionalizing molecular nanocarbon with fluorine atoms

Researchers have discovered a new method to create encapsulated carbon nanomaterials that contain fluorine. Known as fullerenes, these nanocages are promising candidates for clean energy applications.

5 November 2018

Quasi-2D to 3D Fermi surface topology change in Nd-doped CeCoIn5

Scientists found that the emergence of an exotic quantum mechanical phase in Ce1-xNdxCoIn5 is due to a shape change in the Fermi surface. This finding ran counter to theoretical arguments and has led investigators in new directions.

17 September 2018

Destruction of Weyl nodes and a new state in tantalum arsenide above 80 teslas

Weyl metals such as tantalum arsenide (TaAs) are predicted to have novel properties arising from a chirality of their electron spins. Scientists induced an imbalance between the left- and right-handed spin states, resulting in a topologically protected current. This was the first time this phenomenon, known as the chiral anomaly, has been observed.

17 September 2018

Pinning and melting of a quantum Wigner crystal

This research established experimental evidence for the long sought-after transition of a small, two-dimensional sheet of electrons to a solid state.

21 August 2018

Making a non-heme oxoiron(IV) complex a better oxidant

This work investigates a series of oxoiron complexes that serve as models towards understanding the mechanism of catalysis for certain iron-containing enzymes.

21 August 2018

Ancient porphyrins indicate far earlier date for photosynthesis

Molecular fossils of chlorophyll (called porphyrins) more than 1.1 billion years old find suggest that photosynthesis began 600 million years earlier than previously established.

10 July 2018

Imaging pH levels with a Cobalt MRI Probe

A new pH sensitive contrast agent for MR imaging has been developed that produces image contrast based on the local pH and that has great potential for use in living animals and medical diagnostics.

10 July 2018

Metabolic assessment of migraines using ultra-high magnetic fields

The causes of migraines are not well understood, with treatment limited to addressing pain rather than its origin. Research conducted with hydrogen MRI is attempting to identify the "migraine generator."

10 July 2018

Dirac fermions detected via quantum oscillations

This work provides important insight into one of the parent materials of iron-based superconductors.

27 June 2018

Phase diagram of URu2–xFexSi2 in high magnetic fields

Scientists used high magnetic fields and low temperatures to study crystals of URu2–xFexSi2. Using these conditions, they explored an intriguing state of matter called the "hidden order phase" that exhibits emergent behavior. Emergent behavior occurs when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, meaning the whole has exciting properties that its parts do not possess; it is an important concept in philosophy, the brain and theories of life. This data provide strict constraints on theories of emergent behavior.

27 June 2018

High-temperature superconducting tape suitable for magnets at 50 teslas and beyond

Recent measurements of superconducting tapes in the MagLab's 45-tesla hybrid magnet shows that the power function dependence of current on magnetic field remains valid up to 45T in liquid helium, while for magnetic field in the plane of the tape conductor, almost no magnetic field dependence is observed. Thus design of ultra-high-field magnets capable of reaching 50T and higher is feasible using the latest high-critical current density REBCO tape.

18 May 2018

Imaging current flow in the brain during transcranial electrical stimulation

Scientists measured the first in vivo images of stimulated current within the brain using an imaging method that may improve reproducibility and safety, and help understand the mechanisms of action of electrical stimulation.