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25 Tesla, world-record 'split magnet' makes its debut
Date:7/13/2011

A custom-built, $2.5 million "split magnet" system with the potential to revolutionize scientific research in a variety of fields has made its debut at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University.

The world-record magnet is operating at 25 tesla, easily besting the 17.5 tesla French record set in 1991 for this type of magnet. ("Tesla," named for early 20th-century inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla, is a measurement of the strength of a magnetic field.) In addition to being 43 percent more powerful than the previous world best, the new magnet also has 1,500 times as much space at its center, allowing room for more flexible, varied experiments.

To offer some perspective on the strength of the new magnet, consider this: Twenty-five tesla is equal to a whopping 500,000 times the Earth's magnetic field. Imagine that much power focused on a very small space and you have some idea what the split magnet is capable of and why both engineers and scientists at the magnet lab are so excited.

"The Mag Lab has developed numerous world-record magnets; however, the split magnet makes the largest single step forward in technology over the past 20 years," said Mark Bird, director of the laboratory's Magnet Science and Technology division.

For decades, scientists have used high magnetic fields to probe the unusual properties of materials under extreme conditions of heat and pressure. There are unique benefits that arise at especially high magnetic fields certain atoms or molecules become more easily observable, for example, or exhibit properties that are difficult to observe under less extreme conditions. The powerful new split magnet system holds promise for even more breakthroughs at the very edge of human knowledge.

The new magnet was funded by the National Science Foundation and represents years of intense collaboration between the lab's engineering and research teams, headed by scholar/scientist Ja
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Contact: Jack Toth
toth@magnet.fsu.edu
850-644-0854
Florida State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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