Watch how changing the atmospheric pressure around objects can change their size.
It's hard enough to weigh something as itty bitty as atoms or molecules. Factor in that they're careening by faster than Jeff Gordon on steroids, and you get an idea what scientists are up against. Using comet particles from NASA's Stardust mission as an example, this article explains how scientists measure atoms, and what kind of secrets they can uncover in the process.
It may look like a simple black blob, but an oil drop is in fact a phenomenally complex mix of immense (relatively speaking) molecules called hydrocarbons. Using a type of mass spectrometry called FT-ICR (in which the MagLab is a world leader), scientists can analyze oil and other macromolecules with amazing precision, uncovering important secrets in the process.
Follow us down this yellow brick road to learn how these deceptively small molecules conceal enormous potential for applications from carbon capture to data storage.
Using the world's most accurate molecular scale, a former astronaut wanna-be is studying Titan's hazy atmosphere, which resembles the ancient chemistry that once surrounded our own planet.
Although he was not the first person to observe a connection between electricity and magnetism, André-Marie Ampère was the first scientist to attempt to theoretically explain and mathematically describe the phenomenon.
Svante Arrhenius was born in Vik, Sweden, and became the first native of that country to win the Nobel Prize.
J. Georg Bednorz jointly revolutionized superconductivity research with K. Alex Müller by discovering an entirely new class of superconductors, often referred to as high-temperature superconductors.
A native of Germany, the physicist Gerd Binnig co-developed the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) with Heinrich Rohrer while the pair worked together at the IBM Research Laboratory in Switzerland.
Physicist Felix Bloch developed a non-destructive technique for precisely observing and measuring the magnetic properties of nuclear particles.
Leon Cooper shared the 1972 Nobel Prize in Physics with John Bardeen and Robert Schrieffer, with whom he developed the first widely accepted theory of superconductivity.
Born in Palo Alto, California, and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts – homes to Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, respectively – you could say Eric Cornell was destined to become a renowned scientist.
Charles-Augustin de Coulomb invented a device, dubbed the torsion balance, that allowed him to measure very small charges and experimentally estimate the force of attraction or repulsion between two charged bodies.
English scientist William Crookes was very innovative in his investigations with vacuum tubes and designed a variety of different types to be used in his experimental work.
Humphry Davy was a pioneer in the field of electrochemistry who used electrolysis to isolate many elements from the compounds in which they occur naturally.
Peter Debye carried out pioneering studies of molecular dipole moments, formulated theories of magnetic cooling and of electrolytic dissociation, and developed an X-ray diffraction technique for use with powdered, rather than crystallized, substances.
A self-educated man with a brilliant mind, Michael Faraday was born in a hardscrabble neighborhood in London.
Enrico Fermi was a titan of twentieth-century physics.
Murray Gell-Mann is a theoretical physicist who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1969 for his contributions to elementary particle physics.
James Prescott Joule experimented with engines, electricity and heat throughout his life.
While growing up in the Soviet Union, Lev Landau was so far ahead of his classmates that he was ready to begin college at age 13.
Chemist Paul Lauterbur pioneered the use of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) for medical imaging.
Robert Andrews Millikan was a prominent American physicist who made lasting contributions to both pure science and science education.
Heike Kamerlingh Onnes was a Dutch physicist who first observed the phenomenon of superconductivity while carrying out pioneering work in the field of cryogenics.
A discovery by Hans Christian Ørsted forever changed the way scientists think about electricity and magnetism.
In a career that lasted seven decades, Max Planck achieved an enduring legacy with groundbreaking discoveries involving the relationship between heat and energy, but he is most remembered as the founder of the "quantum theory."
Edward Mills Purcell was an American physicist who received half of the 1952 Nobel Prize for Physics for his development of a new method of ascertaining the magnetic properties of atomic nuclei.
Isidor Isaac Rabi won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1944 for his development of a technique for measuring the magnetic characteristics of atomic nuclei.
Swiss physicist Heinrich Rohrer co-invented the scanning tunneling microscope (STM), a non-optical instrument that allows the observation of individual atoms in three dimensions, with Gerd Binnig.
Joseph John Thomson, better known as J. J. Thomson, was a British physicist who first theorized and offered experimental evidence that the atom was a divisible entity rather than the basic unit of matter, as was widely believed at the time.
William Thomson, known as Lord Kelvin, was one of the most eminent scientists of the nineteenth century and is best known today for inventing the international system of absolute temperature that bears his name.
Alessandro Volta was an Italian scientist whose skepticism of Luigi Galvani's theory of animal electricity led him to propose that an electrical current is generated by contact between different metals.
Researching magnetism with the great mathematician and astronomer Karl Friedrich Gauss in the 1830s, German physicist Wilhelm Weber developed and enhanced a variety of devices for sensitively detecting and measuring magnetic fields and electrical currents.
Carl Edwin Wieman is one of three physicists credited with the discovery of a fifth phase of matter, for which he was awarded a share of the prestigious Nobel Prize in 2001.
With only minor changes to its original 1866 design, the Leclanché cell evolved into modern alkaline batteries and the most popular household battery to date.
Scientists take important steps toward a fuller understanding of electricity, as well as some fruitful missteps, including an elaborate but incorrect theory on animal magnetism that sets the stage for a groundbreaking invention.
Alessandro Volta invents the first primitive battery, discovering that electricity can be generated through chemical processes; scientists quickly seize on the new tool to invent electric lighting. Meanwhile, a profound insight into the relationship between electricity and magnetism goes largely unnoticed.
Hans Christian Ørsted’s accidental discovery that an electrical current moves a compass needle rocks the scientific world; a spate of experiments follows, immediately leading to the first electromagnet and electric motor.
The Industrial Revolution is in full force, Gramme invents his dynamo and James Clerk Maxwell formulates his series of equations on electrodynamics.
The telephone and first practical incandescent light bulb are invented while the word "electron" enters the scientific lexicon.
Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison duke it out over the best way to transmit electricity and Heinrich Hertz is the first person (unbeknownst to him) to broadcast and receive radio waves.
Scientists discover and probe x-rays and radioactivity, while inventors compete to build the first radio.
Albert Einstein publishes his special theory of relativity and his theory on the quantum nature of light, which he identified as both a particle and a wave. With ever new appliances, electricity begins to transform everyday life.
Scientists' understanding of the structure of the atom and of its component particles grows, the phone and radio become common, and the modern television is born.
Defense-related research leads to the computer, the world enters the atomic age and TV conquers America.
Computers evolve into PCs, researchers discover one new subatomic particle after another and the space age gives our psyches and science a new context.
Pack a sack lunch and load up! We're hitting the road to learn how this massive magnet tracks sodium moving through your brain.
This iron-packed substance has a dual personality; one second it's a liquid, the next it's a solid. Mix up a batch at home and see how this unique stuff works.
Iron is found in magnet, steel beams – and in our food! It tastes better in cashews than in bar magnets!
Watch crystals grow in this time lapse footage and learn how to grow your own crystals at home.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Precise determination of hemoglobin sequence and subunit quantitation from human blood for diagnosis of hemoglobin-based diseases.
A new method to characterize crude oil corrosion shows that corrosion in acidic crude oils depends on the specific structures of the acid molecules, information that can help improve oil valuation and refining.
New technique could lead to precise, personalized cancer diagnosis and monitoring.
Researchers used the MagLab to produce the first clarified map of KRAS proteins in colon cancer tumors. Twenty-eight additional forms of the KRAS protein were discovered, including a new form of the protein (called clipped-KRAS) that does not bind to the cell membrane, instead serving as a kind of on-off switch to regulate cell growth. These findings may help yield future cancer treatments.
This finding demonstrates a path forward to dramatically enhance sensitivity for molecule concentration measurement by magnetic resonance using Overhauser DNP.
Reuse of the MagLab's Ion Cyclotron Resonance facility data improved understanding of protein fragmentation and aided the design and release of new algorithms and software tools. This is representative of a new type of MagLab user: A Data User – who accesses MagLab data from public data repositories to advance independent research goals.
Combining tremendous strength with a high-quality field, the MagLab’s newest instrument promises big advances in interdisciplinary research.
State-of-the-art ion cyclotron resonance magnet system offers researchers significantly more power and accuracy than ever before.
A unique way to bond together single-layer semiconductors opens a door to new nanotechnologies.
Finding could make pricey, massive scanners a thing of the past.
Martha Chacón-Patiño to jump-start collaboration that could advance both the treatment of cancer and the study of petroleum.
Using tools at the MagLab, scientists pinpoint pigments that are the oldest on record.
Lab veteran Tim Cross has been named 2019-2020 Lawton Distinguished Professor by his peers.
Physicist Christianne Beekman and chemist Yan-Yan Hu have been recognized as outstanding early-career researchers by the National Science Foundation.
Enabled by a world-record instrument, the images convey vast amounts of data that could be useful in health and pharmaceutical research.
As head of nuclear magnetic resonance at the MagLab's Tallahassee headquarters, Rob Schurko hopes to expand capabilities and build new magnets.
MagLab researchers show that exposure to sun and water causes thousands of chemicals to leach from roads into the environment.
New funding will explore the mysteries of the Platinum group elements to investigate possible alternatives to rare and expensive materials used in an array of clean energy applications.
The MagLab and the Bruker Corporation have installed the world’s first 21 tesla magnet for Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometry.
Thin, flexible, strong: MagLab research on the marvel of insect wings
Thanks to the MagLab’s expertise and unique instruments, a geochemist finds a treasure trove of oil-spill data buried beneath the sea.
Studying dissolved organic matter helps us better understand our diverse and changing planet.
Members of a sprawling science team piece together the puzzle of biochar, a promising tool in the fight against global warming.
A deeper understanding of petroleum molecules is shedding a harsh light on how some of them behave in our environment.
Some manmade chemicals feature bonds so strong they could last forever. And that's a life-threatening problem.
A team of researchers pulls off a daring data caper in Delaware Bay, swiping secrets about the movement of molecules between air and water.
New research is a first step toward understanding how a certain protein may help tuberculosis bacteria survive.
Used to perform complex chemical analysis, this magnet offers researchers the world's highest field for ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry.
A young chemist studying fracking fluid talks about what it's like when science hits close to home.
Paleobiogeochemist (no, that's not a typo) Nur Gueneli put some ancient dirt into our magnets to learn more about the Earth's earliest inhabitants.
ICR technology helps identify new kinds of hemoglobin abnormalities.
Chemist Amy McKenna describes her path to science and to the MagLab
With determination, confidence and a top-notch team, this MagLab chemist exposed the complex secrets of crude oil, busting open a vast, new field.
- Dynamic nuclear polarization
- Energy research
- Health research
- Life research
- Magnet technology
- Mass spectrometry
- Materials research
- NMR and MRI
- Postdocs and grad students
- Quantum computing
- Science & Art
- STEM education
- 100-tesla multi-shot magnet
- 32-tesla superconducting magnet
- 45-tesla hybrid magnet
- 900MHz magnet
- 36-tesla SCH
- 25-tesla split magnet
- 41-tesla resistive magnet
- 21-tesla ICR magnet
- 600 MHz 89 mm MAS DNP System