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.

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.

28 July 2020

Smart Non-Linear Transport Technique Expands the Frontier of Superconductor Research

Superconductors conduct large amounts of electricity without losses. They are also used to create very large magnetic fields, for example in MRI machines, to study materials and medicine. Here, researchers developed a fast, new "smart" technique to measure how much current a superconductor can carry using very high pulsed magnetic fields.

28 July 2020

Inducing Magnetic Ring Currents in Non-Magnetic Aromatic Molecules

Magnetic induction is used in technology to convert an applied magnetic field into an electric current and vice versa. Nature also makes extensive use of this principle at the atomic and molecular level giving scientists a window to observe material properties. Using the 25 T Split-Helix magnet, researchers observed changes in the optical properties of organic materials due to currents induced by applied magnetic fields flowing in molecular rings, evidence that could increase the list of materials that could be used in future magnetic technologies.

23 June 2020

Integrated Coil Form Technology for Ultra High Magnetic Fields

Tests of the first Integrated Coil Form test coil wound using REBCO superconducting tape show promise for use in ultra powerful magnets of the future.

1 June 2020

Magnetoelectric coupling at a transition between two spin states

Materials with magnetoelectric coupling - a combination of magnetic and electric properties - have potential applications in low-power magnetic sensing, new computational devices and high-frequency electronics. Here, researchers find a new class of magnetoelectric materials controlled by spin state switching.

23 April 2020

Molecular magnetic building blocks

This study reports the first transition metal compounds featuring mixed fluoride–cyanide ligands. A significant enhancement of the magnetic anisotropy, as compared to the pure fluoride ligated compounds, is demonstrated by combined analysis of high-field electron paramagnetic resonance (HF-EPR) spectroscopy and magnetization measurements.

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