MagLab renewed with a $184 million federal boost

File photo
File photo

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The National Science Foundation announced Monday that it has renewed support for the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, with an investment of $184 million over the next five years.

The largest MagLab facility is at Florida State University, which is home to the strongest research magnets in the world. It also includes facilities at the University of Florida and the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“This announcement comes as a strong endorsement for the importance of high magnetic field research in America’s science portfolio,”  Greg Boebinger, National MagLab director, said in a press release Monday. “The true strength of the MagLab comes from the scientific impact of our users from across the nation, users who access these magnets to make discoveries of new materials, find energy solutions and explore the science that illuminates life itself.”

The new funding represents nearly a 10-percent increase over the previous five-year award, bringing the NSF’s total investment to $867 million.

“NSF is proud to support a facility that has broken -- and holds -- many world records in magnet technology,” Anne Kinney, NSF assistant director for mathematical and physical sciences, said in the release.

The MagLab facility at FSU has the world’s strongest continuous high-field, helium-cooled magnet at 45 teslas and a pulsed magnet that can provide a magnetic field of 100 teslas, some 2 million times stronger than the earth’s magnetic field. For comparison, a refrigerator magnet has about .01 teslas.

The MagLab also has the most powerful magnet for nuclear magnetic resonance, which is used for biological, chemical and materials research.

Among the research breakthroughs at the MagLab, researchers have improved the performance of quantum bits, or qubits, which are key components that could lead to the eventual development of quantum computers.