The Magnetic Capital of the World
Home to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, the only facility of its kind in the United States, Tallahassee is attracting world-class companies eager to capitalize on high-caliber magnetics research and resources.
Every year, thousands of scientists from around the globe come to Tallahassee to use the world’s largest and highest-powered magnet lab. The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (or National MagLab as it is known locally) is the only facility of its kind in the U.S., operating for more than 25 years thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation and the state of Florida.
Home to a fleet of world record magnets and highly experienced scientists and technicians, the National MagLab welcomes scientists in myriad fields who use the lab’s unique magnets to probe fundamental questions about materials, energy, and life. The National MagLab’s 45-tesla hybrid magnet creates the strongest continuous magnetic field in the world. The lab also boasts the strongest magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, which features an ultra-wide bore magnet with a field strength of 21.1 tesla (compared to a 1.5 tesla MRI found at most hospitals).
“While much of the science that happens at the MagLab is driven by scientific curiosity, the research can affect regular people’s everyday lives,” says Greg Boebinger, director of the National MagLab. “Magnetic fields are underutilized in the private sector, and we welcome industry to better leverage our lab’s research opportunities.”
The MagLab’s Magnetic Reach
Magnetic field research has played a critical role in developing new technologies used every day from electric lights and computers to motors, plastics, high-speed trains, and MRI. And the newest research coming from the MagLab is laying the building blocks for future technology, energy solutions, and cures for disease.
The far-reaching impacts include:
• Research on lithium batteries and more efficient fuel cells that could fundamentally change the way energy is stored and delivered.
• Solutions for efficient energy storage for renewable energy sources like clean wind and solar.
• Improvements to petroleum refining, converting abundant, lower-quality crude oil into usable fuel.
• New equipment for diagnosing brain cancer and gauging whether tumors have shrunk within days instead of the usual weeks or months.
• Research on certain materials that have unique optical, electrical, and magnetic properties that can be used for computer memory storage.
• Advances in understanding the causes of southern leaf blight, a fungal disease that affects food supplies.
• Exploration of semiconductors, superconductors, newly grown crystals, and materials from the natural world for development of new technologies.
• Detection of new biomarkers for cancer and understanding biochemical interactions within tumors.
• Improvements on design and energy efficiency of motors in car engines, air conditioners, robots, and other devices.
• Research to help build a molecular basis for engineering more effective human antifungal drugs.
• Deeper understanding about the structure of diseases and disorders, from cancer to HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s to Alzheimer’s, migraines and brain injuries to Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) that could lead to innovative drug development for global health threats.
• Research on superconductivity that could lead to smart electrical grids, power storage devices, or magnetic levitation.
• Work on buckytubes to help make products stronger and lighter, and a new carbon-based material, graphene, that may lead to an array of exciting products, from thin, flexible computer screens that can be rolled up like a sheet of paper to quantum computers that can process complex calculations.