On Dec. 8, this new magnet reached a magnetic field of 32 tesla. Tesla is a unit of magnetic field strength; a small refrigerator magnet is about .01 tesla.
Made of a combination of conventional low-temperature and novel high-temperature superconductors, the "32 T" will allow physicists studying materials to explore how electrons interact with each other and their atomic environment, enabling new devices that will shape our world.
For decades, the world record for a superconducting magnet has inched forward incrementally. This single leap is bigger than all the improvements made over the past 40 years combined.
"This is a transformational step in magnet technology, a true revolution in the making," said MagLab Director Greg Boebinger. "Not only will this state-of-the-art magnet design allow us to offer new experimental techniques here at the lab, but it will boost the power of other scientific tools such as X-rays and neutron scattering around the world."