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Let there be light: new magnet design continues magnet lab's tradition of innovation
Date:10/31/2007

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Engineers at Florida State Universitys National High Magnetic Field Laboratory have successfully tested a groundbreaking new magnet design that could literally shed new light on nanoscience and semiconductor research.

When the magnet -- called the Split Florida Helix -- is operational in 2010, researchers will have the ability to direct and scatter laser light at a sample not only down the bore, or center, of the magnet, but also from four ports on the sides of the magnet, while still reaching fields above 25 tesla. By comparison, the highest-field split magnet in the world attains 18 tesla. Tesla is a measurement of the strength of a magnetic field; 1 tesla is equal to 20,000 times the Earths magnetic field.

Magnetism is a critical component of a surprising number of modern technologies, including MRIs and disk drives, and high-field magnets stand beside lasers and microscopes as essential research tools for probing the mysteries of nature. With this new magnet, scientists will be able to expand the scope of their experimental approach, learning more about the intrinsic properties of materials by shining light on crystals from angles not previously available in such high magnetic fields. In materials research, scientists look at which kinds of light are absorbed or reflected at different crystal angles, giving them insight into the fundamental electronic structure of matter.

The Split Florida Helix design represents a significant accomplishment for the magnet labs engineering staff. High magnetic fields exert tremendous forces inside the magnet, and those forces are directed at the small space in the middle . . . thats where Mag Lab engineers cut big holes in it.

You have enough to worry about with traditional magnets, and then you try to cut huge holes from all four sides from which you can access the magnet, said lab engineer Jack Toth, who is spearheading the project. Basically, near the midplane,
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Contact: Jack Toth
toth@magnet.fsu.edu
850-644-0854
Florida State University  
Source:Eurekalert

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