The most powerful stable magnetic field has been smashed by a hybrid magnet in China, scientists report.
During a steady high magnetic field experiment at the Steady High Magnetic Field Facility (SHMFF) in Hefei, China, a hybrid magnet produced a steady field of 45.22 tesla (T), the world’s highest steady magnetic field. Previously, a hybrid magnet at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (MagLab) set the world record for 45-tesla in 1999. A resistive insert nests inside a superconducting outsert with a bore of 32mm on this 45.22-tesla hybrid magnet. A hybrid magnet was successfully built by the team in 2016, which generated a 40-tesla magnetic field at the time, making it just the second such magnet in the world. As it turns out, 40-tesla was not the end. The team has never stopped seeking higher magnetic fields since then.
In recent years, the MagLab and SHMFF research teams have developed hybrid magnets of their own. There are two ways this magnet creates a magnetic field: an outer superconducting ring and an inner resistive Bitter magnet (a magnet with stacked plates). There are limitations to each of these technologies: superconducting magnets have low power input requirements but a limit to the strength of their magnetic fields; bitter magnets require much higher power inputs.
A higher magnetic field was achieved by redesigning the magnet’s structure and developing new materials, said Professor KUANG Guangli, Director of the High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CHMFL). KUANG added that the bitter discs’ manufacturing process was also optimized following an on-site inspection by seven academicians.
China’s 45.22-tesla magnet is regarded as one of the most important milestones in the development of magnetic technology worldwide. The magnet is one of ten that CHMFL has developed and operated. Resistive magnets developed by the lab in Hefei have previously set three world records. Scientists worldwide use the world’s strongest steady-state magnetic field thanks to SHMFF, a user facility. Since its operation, the facility has operated more than 500,000 machine hours, providing experimental conditions for cutting-edge research in multidisciplinary fields to over 170 institutes or universities around the globe.
The researchers revealed in a statement that the hybrid magnet’s openness, sharing, and user service level would also be greatly improved as its magnetic field strength increases. In a trial run in 2019, a superconducting magnet at MagLab briefly achieved a strength of 45.5 tesla, the strongest magnetic field on Earth.
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