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.

22 July 2021

New High-Magnetic-Field Thermometers for Sub-Millikelvin Temperatures

This highlight focuses on the development of new thermometry required to study quantum materials and phenomena in high magnetic fields and at ultralow temperatures. The team has demonstrated that exceedingly small quartz tuning forks bathed in liquid 3He maintain a constant calibration that is magnetic field independent, thereby opening the use of these devices as new sensors of the response of quantum systems.

22 July 2021

A New Method for Understanding Dynamic Nuclear Polarization

A new method to study how the nuclei of atoms “communicate” with one another in the presence of unpaired electron spins has been developed at the MagLab. Known as hyperpolarization resurgence (HypRes), this method benefits and expands the application of a revolutionary technique known as dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP), which provides enormous signal enhancements in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) experiments.

23 June 2021

Magnetoelastic Coupling in the Multiferroic BiFeO3

High-resolution electron magnetic resonance studies of the spin-wave spectrum in the high-field phase of the multiferroic Bismuth ferrite (BiFeO3) reveal direct evidence for the magnetoelastic coupling through a change in lattice symmetry from rhombohedral to monoclinic. This study provides important information for designing future spintronics devices based on BiFeO3.

23 June 2021

Makeup of Dissolved Organic Matter in Arctic Rivers

Researchers share new insights on the role of seasonality in dissolved organic matter (DOM) composition in large Arctic rivers. 

28 May 2021

HTS NMR Probe Tracks Metabolism Cycles During Insect Dormancy

An insect's ability to survive anaerobic conditions (without oxygen) during winter pupation occurs through periodic cycling of aerobic respiration pathways needed to recharge energy and clear waste. The cellular mechanisms at play during these brief near-arousal periods can provide clues to help improve the success in storage and transplant of human organs.

28 May 2021

Exchange Bias Between Coexisting Antiferromagnetic and Spin-Glass Orders

A pane of window glass and a piece of quartz are both are transparent to light, but their atomic structure is very different. Quartz is crystalline at the atomic level while window glass is amorphous. This can also occur with magnetism at the atomic level in solids containing magnetic states such as antiferromagnetism (ordered) and spin-glass (disorded). This work describes the interaction (exchange bias) between ordered and disordered magnetic states and how the magnetic properties of the material are altered as a result.

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.

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