Another World Record in Magnet Development: 21.1 Tesla, Superconducting NMR Magnet for Chemical and Biomedical Research

Jul 26, 2004
Another World Record in Magnet Development: 21.1 Tesla, Superconducting  NMR Magnet for Chemical and Biomedical Research

The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, funded by the National Science Foundation and the State of Florida, has achieved another world record in magnet development with the successful testing of its 21.1 Tesla, superconducting, ultra-wide bore, NMR magnet. The magnet reached full field on July 21, 2004, and will remain at field for years -- and even decades -- to come. A team of engineers headed by Denis Markiewicz, Tom Painter, Iain Dixon, and Jim Ferner at the NHMFL developed, designed, manufactured, and tested the magnet system. The product of this 13-year effort stands 16 feet tall, weighs over 30,000 pounds, and has a stored energy of 40 megajoules. No other magnet in the world can produce 21.1 Tesla for NMR and MRI science in a 105 mm warm bore.

NHMFL Director Greg Boebinger said, "This very powerful and ultra-wide bore magnet was an extremely challenging system to build, and it represents a significant engineering accomplishment. It is the crown jewel of the laboratory's NMR spectroscopy and imaging program -- a joint effort between the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee and in Gainesville." This accomplishment positions the NHMFL as an international leader in the development of high field superconducting magnet technology for magnetic resonance applications.

The magnet is a concentric assembly of ten superconducting coils connected in series and operated at 1.7 K (-456.6 Fahrenheit). Each coil is wound with a monolithic superconductor, composed of either niobium-tin (Nb3Sn) or niobium-titanium (NbTi) filaments in a copper matrix. To support the magnetic loading, the coils are configured with stainless steel overbanding and are vacuum impregnated with cryogenically tough epoxy for structural support. The high current density coils produce a uniform field of 21.1 Tesla to one part in one billion in a volume 64 times larger than that of typical NMR systems. Small adjustments to field homogeneity are achieved with a set of superconducting shim coils that fine tune the magnetic field. Fabrication of the NbTi and shim coils occurred in cooperation with an industrial partner, Intermagnetics General Corporation. The achievement of producing a uniform 21.1 Tesla field in a warm bore of 105 mm is attributed to the development of state-of-the-art magnet technology at the NHMFL and in collaboration with industry.

"We are extremely excited about the prospects of exploring new avenues in chemical and biomedical science with this one-of-a-kind magnet system that will have an operating frequency of 900 MHz for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)," stated NMR Director Tim Cross. The ultra-wide bore (105 mm) is the unique aspect of this magnet that will permit a much greater range of scientific experiments than would be possible in standard 52 mm bore magnets. Science performed on this unique national resource will range from materials research to macromolecular biological structure determination and non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging of laboratory animals. With this instrument, scientists from around the world as well as those at the NHMFL will be able to expand the horizons of scientific investigation with NMR and MRI technologies.

Source: National High Magnetic Field Laboratory

Explore further: New portable vacuum standard

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

SOHO and Hinode offer new insight into solar eruptions

6 hours ago

The sun is home to the largest explosions in the solar system. For example, it regularly produces huge eruptions known as coronal mass ejections – when billions of tons of solar material erupt off the sun, ...

Nanotechnology changes behavior of materials

6 hours ago

One of the reasons solar cells are not used more widely is cost—the materials used to make them most efficient are expensive. Engineers are exploring ways to print solar cells from inks, but the devices ...

Peering into cosmic magnetic fields

Jan 22, 2015

The generation of cosmic magnetic fields has long intrigued astrophysicists. Since it was first described in 1959, a phenomenon known as Weibel filamentation instability—a plasma instability present in ...

Recommended for you

New portable vacuum standard

21 hours ago

A novel Portable Vacuum Standard (PVS) has been added to the roster of NIST's Standard Reference Instruments (SRI). It is now available for purchase as part of NIST's ongoing commitment to disseminate measurement ...

Hybrid memory device for superconducting computing

22 hours ago

A team of NIST scientists has devised and demonstrated a novel nanoscale memory technology for superconducting computing that could hasten the advent of an urgently awaited, low-energy alternative to power-hungry conventional ...

Prototype for first traceable PET-MR phantom

22 hours ago

As cancer diagnostic tools, a new class of imagers – which combines positron-emission tomography (PET) with magnetic resonance imaging (MR or MRI) – has shown promise in the few years since these hybrid ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.