Scientists at the Florida State University-based National High Magnetic Field Laboratory just created what they claim to be the world’s strongest magnetic field using a toilet paper roll-sized magnet that’s less than a centimeter thick.
The miniature electromagnet was created by MagLab engineer Seungyong Hahn. It generated a world-record 45.5 tesla magnetic field — more than 20 times the strength of a hospital MRI magnet.
Hahn and his team’s research, published in the journal Nature Thursday, describes how they achieved such a strong field using a new conductor and magnet design. The magnet’s superconductors were made out of a new compound called REBCO (rare earth barium copper oxide), which can carry twice as much current as superconductors used for previous record-breaking magnets — meaning a stronger electromagnetic field.
The team also skipped on adding insulation.
“The fact that the turns of the coil are not insulated from each other means that they can share current very easily and effectively in order to bypass any of these obstacles,” David Larbalestier, co-author of the paper, said.
The team has big hopes for the technology.
“This is indeed a miniaturization milestone that could potentially do for magnets what silicon has done for electronics,” MagLab Director Greg Boebinger said in a statement. “This creative technology could lead to small magnets that do big jobs in places like particle detectors, nuclear fusion reactors and diagnostic tools in medicine.”
READ MORE: National MagLab creates world-record magnetic field with small, compact coil [Florida State University]
More on electromagnets: This Super Powerful Magnetic Field Puts Us One Step Closer to Nuclear Fusion