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 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.

31 January 2018

2D electron-hole "superconductor": Topological excitonic insulator

Decades ago a mechanism was proposed that described a quantum phase transition to an insulating ground state from a semi-metal (excitonic insulator, or EI) using very similar mechanics to those found in the BCS description of superconductivity. The discovery of this transition to an EI in InAs/GaSb quantum wells is striking not only for the long-sought experimental realization of important physics, but also the presence of recently proposed topological behavior.

30 November 2017

Tweaked recipe delivers record current-carrying capacity in Bi-2212 wires

MagLab-industry partnership ups the critical current density of this high-temperature superconductor by a third.

30 November 2017

Dynamics of helium-3 in nanotubes

Experiment shows that emergent quantum fluid behavior of helium-3 confined to one dimension is observable using special low-temperature NMR techniques.

7 November 2017

New magnetic topological semimetal has energy-saving potential

Researchers discover that Sr1-yMn1-zSb2 (y,z < 0.1) is a so-called Weyl material that holds great promise for building devices that require far less power.

26 October 2017

High-temperature superconducting coils tested for future NMR magnet

Bi-2223 shows promise for 30-tesla all-superconducting instrument for nuclear magnetic resonance.

10 October 2017

Selective mass enhancement close to a quantum critical point

This finding sheds light on the role of quasiparticle mass enhancement near a quantum critical point in one of the leading families of high-temperature superconductors.

10 October 2017

Reversible magnetic switching in multifunctional material

With just a drop of water, a cobalt-based material changes both color and magnetic properties.