Materials Research

Recent Research from the DC Field Facility

Researchers observe exotic superfluid in graphene

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Recent Research from the Pulsed Field Facility

Connection between superconductivity and insulator-metal transition

Alkali-doped fullerides (at left) and diagram (right) showing the phase transition between superconductivity (pink dome) and a three-dimensional Mott insulator (blue region), as shown by the yellow diamonds.

Recent Research from the DC Field Facility

Pressure Converts an Insulator into a Metal

Quantum oscillations in NiS2 that appear at pressures above the Mott transition that is at ~30kbar.

Recent Research from Magnet Science & Technology

New record NMR magnet reaches peak performance.

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Recent Research from the High B/T Facility

Helium nanodroplets shed light on phase separations in other materials.

Long-time decay of the NMR amplitude arising from solid helium-three that tracks the loss of the solid component to the formation of degenerate Fermi liquids in nanodroplets.

Recent Research from the ASC

Better joints to connect wires of promising superconductor.

(Left) Light microscope image of a transverse cross-section of Bi-2212 wire. (Right) Voltage-current (V-I) curves.

Recent Research from the Pulsed Field Facility

Tunable, 2D semiconductors could be tomorrow's nano-sensors

(a) 2D excitons in monolayer WSe<sub>2</sub> (b) The experiment: monolayer WSe2 is affixed to an optical fiber and encapsulated.

Scientists and engineers are on a quest to make products smaller, faster, smarter and stronger. New materials are at the center of this race: They enable the high-tech products that have changed your life and will continue to change it in ways you cannot yet imagine.

Researchers at the MagLab, including visiting scientists as well as physicists in our Condensed Matter Science Research Group, use our high-powered magnets to help discover, explore and understand materials. These materials then become the building blocks of new products. Think about materials research as the study of “stuff.”

SCIENCE DRIVERS

The lab's research priorities are determined by its user community. The lab’s materials-related science drivers are:

Quantum Matter. The broadly challenging manifestations of quantum phenomena in materials properties, in which magnetic fields change electronic correlations and, thus, materials properties.

Spin Coherence and Spin Control. The many methods to manipulate and detect electron and nuclear magnetic fields (“spins”), including:

  • fundamental spin physics
  • ultra-sensitive NMR and MRI probes and techniques
  • improved MRI contrast via selective spin dephasing

Semi- and super- conducting materials, the focus of the lab’s materials research, are leading to the products of tomorrow. Semiconductors conduct current, and are widely used in microprocessors and modern electronics from televisions to cell phones. Superconductors are materials that conduct electricity without resistance, but only at very cold temperatures (around -242 degrees Celsius). Research on making superconductivity possible at higher temperatures could lead to smart electrical grids, power storage devices or magnetic levitation.

Fullerenes are carbon-based molecules that are widely studied in high magnetic fields. One type of fullerene, buckyballs, are spheres of carbon, plentiful in space, that may one day teach us about the origins of life in the universe. Work on buckytubes could help make products stronger and lighter, and a new carbon-based material, graphene, may lead to an array of exciting products, from thin, flexible computer screens that can be rolled up like a sheet of paper to quantum computers that can process complex calculations using quantum-mechanical phenomena.

Certain crystals contain optical, electrical and magnetic properties that can be used for computer memory storage. Even natural materials, such as spider silk, have amazing properties that could make electronics and computers that could bend and stretch like spandex.

Research on more powerful permanent magnetic materials will also be key to improving the energy efficiency of motors in car engines, air conditioners, robots and other devices.

Much of the MagLab’s user-driven materials research takes place in the DC Field Facility, Pulsed Field Facility, High B/T Facility and EMR Facility. The lab’s Magnet Science & Technology group and Applied Superconductivity Center are also playing a key role in materials development, as the quest for higher magnetic fields requires the discovery of new materials.

View highlights of some of the lab's recent materials research.

Last modified on 17 June 2015