The MagLab DC Field Facility of the University of Florida is now home to a record-breaking magnet that is capable of maintaining a steady magnetic field of 45.5 Tesla (T). Tesla is the SI unit for measuring the magnetic flux density, and it is generally used to measure the power of a magnetic field. This is a record-breaking figure, as we’re talking about a sustained field, and not something like the 100-microseconds 1200 T achieved by the University of Tokyo last year. The reason why this is important is not the record though, but the potential that opens up from this new magnet design, as well as the utilization potential.
The team mentions particle accelerators, fusion devices, pharmacy, medicine, and numerous scientific and industrial uses as examples of how such magnets could change the world and open the doors of discovery for scientists. This is because the team believes that their design, if modified and improved, can easily enter the realm of 50 Tesla and then explore the potential of reaching up to 60 Tesla, something that was previously considered absolutely impossible. To put things into perspective, an MRI scan machine operates at about 3 Tesla, while the strongest natural magnets on Earth can go up to 4.5 Tesla.
MagLab’s magnet is small in size and is made out of a 30-micrometers thick substrate that is coated with a rare earth barium copper oxide (REBCO) tape, and then wrapped with white fiberglass tape. The high-compact coil operates with a staggering current density of 1260 amperes per square millimeter. For this to work, the researchers had to avoid using insulation and also to cool the magnet below its critical temperature, so they used liquid helium to achieve that.
Credit: Florida State University
Image by W. v/d D. from Pixabay