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National Maglab Creates World-Record Magnetic Field With Small, Compact Coil

HP139June 21, 2019 (HP139). Development could lead to a new generation of magnets for biomedical research, nuclear fusion reactors

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A novel magnet half the size of a cardboard toilet tissue roll usurped the title of “world’s strongest magnetic field” from the metal titan that had held it for two decades at the Florida State University-headquartered National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

And, its makers say, we ain’t seen nothing yet: By packing an exceptionally high-field magnet into a coil you could pack in a purse, MagLab scientists and engineers have shown a way to build and use electromagnets that are stronger, smaller and more versatile than ever before.

Their work is outlined in an article published today in the journal Nature.

“We are really opening a new door,” said MagLab engineer Seungyong Hahn, the mastermind behind the new magnet and an associate professor at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. “This technology has a very good potential to entirely change the horizons of high-field applications because of its compact nature.”

This new magnet is a plucky David to the MagLab’s conventional Goliaths, said National MagLab Director Greg Boebinger.

“This is indeed a miniaturization milestone that could potentially do for magnets what silicon has done for electronics,” he said. “This creative technology could lead to small magnets that do big jobs in places like particle detectors, nuclear fusion reactors and diagnostic tools in medicine.”

Gary Ostrander, vice president for Research at Florida State University, said the new record is a tribute to the ingenuity of the faculty and interdisciplinary nature of research at the lab.

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From L to R: Larbalestier, Hahn, and Dixon

Larbalestier, Hahn, and Dixon