World’s strongest magnet to aid superconductor research

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Tallahassee (FL) – In an effort to learn more about the characteristics of high-density superconductors, the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and Florida State University will build a "neutron-scattering" magnet for the Hahn-Meitner Institute in Berlin, Germany.

The super magnet, scheduled to be in place by 2011, is expected to generate a magnetic field between 25 tesla and 30 tesla, which is more more than half a million times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field and about twice as strong as an existing magnet at the at the Hahn-Meitner Institute (HMI).

 

 

The FSU said that the magnet will aid HMI scientists in developing a comprehensive theory describing high-temperature superconductors. The strength of the magnet will enable “neutron scattering experiments, which are among the best methods for probing atoms to better understand the structure of materials,” the University said. The combination of neutrons and high magnetic fields is expected to research the normal state of high-temperature superconductors in the low-temperature limit.

According to the FSU, the magnet combines a copper-coil "resistive" magnet technology in the magnet’s interior with a superconducting magnet, cooled with liquid helium, on the exterior. The copper-coil insert is powered by an electrical current, while the superconducting outsert conducts electricity without resistance as long as it is kept colder than -450 degrees Fahrenheit. “By combining the power supplies of these two technologies, engineers can produce extremely high magnetic fields using just one-third of the power required by traditional magnets,” the FSU said.