Magnet lab wins attractive grant

The US National Science Foundation has awarded the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory an $11.7m grant to build a magnet to help learn more about little-understood molecules.

The magnet will generate extremely high magnetic fields using just one-third the power of traditional “all-resistive” magnets. It will enable unique experiments to be conducted at the FloridaStateUniversity facility, primarily using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to study proteins, nucleic acids, catalysts, conductors and semiconductors.

A key advantage of the new magnet, which is a hybrid of resistive and superconducting magnets, is that it will allow experiments to be performed at lower cost and for longer time frames than would be the case using existing all-resistive magnets. Resistive magnets require both electricity and cooled water while being used; superconducting magnets require little or no electrical power to run once they are brought up to full field.

Eventually, multiple numbers of such hybrid systems will increase the number of experiments that can be carried out at the lab each year.

The Series Connected Hybrid will provide a unique combination of high field strength (36 Tesla) and highly stable and homogeneous field, a critical factor in collecting the best data with the NMR technique. In addition, by replacing part of a resistive magnet with a superconducting magnet, the operational costs are reduced significantly, allowing an experiment to be run longer, which lengthens researchers’ data-acquisition times.