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.

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.

16 May 2018

Magneto-electric effects in metal-organic quantum magnet

New materials that exhibit a strong coupling between magnetic and electric effects are of great interest for the development of high-sensitivity detectors and other devices. This paper reports on such a coupling in a specially designed material.

17 April 2018

Novel metallofullerene boosts dynamic nuclear polarization

In this study, researchers added a low concentration of the endohedral metallofullerene (EMF) Gd2@C79N to DNP samples, finding that 1H and 13C enhancements increased by 40% and 50%, respectively, at 5 teslas and 1.2 Kelvin.

19 March 2018

Ceramic insulation for high-temperature superconducting wire

MagLab scientists and engineers have developed a special coating on Bi-2212 superconducting wire for electrical insulation in superconducting magnets that will enable the wire to be used in ultra-high field nuclear magnetic resonance magnets.

19 March 2018

Switchable transmission of quantum Hall edge states in bilayer graphene

In the 14 years since its discovery, graphene has amazed scientists around the world with both the ground-breaking physics and technological potential it displays. Recently, scientists from Penn State University added to graphene's gallery of impressive scientific achievements and constructed a map that will aid future exploration of this material. This work is emblematic of the large number of university-based materials research efforts that use the MagLab to explore the frontiers of science.

27 February 2018

Exciton states in a new monolayer semiconductor

Analogous to the unique spectral fingerprint of any atom or molecule, researchers have measured the spectrum of optical excitations in monolayer tungsten diselenide (WSe2), which is a member of a new family of ultrathin semiconductors that are just one atomic layer thick.

27 February 2018

Targeted annotation of peptides by selective infrared multiphoton dissociation mass spectrometry

Protein oxidative damage is a common occurrence in a number of diseases, including cancer, neurodegenerative, and cardiovascular disease. Yet, little is known about its contribution to these illnesses. We developed a new technique, utilizing an infrared laser in combination with a mass spectrometer, to selectively identify sites of oxidation in complex protein mixtures. This sensitive and rapid platform may outperform current techniques and thus shed light on the involvement of oxidative damage in each of these diseases.

26 February 2018

Across the Tree of Life: Radiation Resistance Gauged by High-Field EPR

This high-field EPR study of the H-Mn2+ content in the bacterium Deinococcus Radiodurans provides the strongest known biological indicator of cellular ionizing radiation resistance between and within the three domains of the tree of life, with potential applications including optimization of radiotherapy.