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Record breaking magnet operates at 500000x Earths magnetic field

first_imgAs kids we all got to play with magnets in school and feel the force of them repelling or attracting each other. Ever wonder what would happen if you scaled those forces up with increasingly more powerful magnets? Scientists did, and the latest so-called split magnet operates at 25 tesla, or 500,000 times the Earth’s magnetic field. But that belies the true force at work here because it is concentrated in such a small area.A split magnet is two very powerful magnets brought close together but are not allowed to touch. This creates a very strong magnetic force which is useful for experimentation that can lead to new discoveries in a range of fields.The problem with split magnets until now is the holes left in them for inserting equipment have been very small. Florida State University’s new split magnet is not only the most powerful ever created, but the holes in it are significantly larger–15cm wide as opposed to just 3.2cm previously. Bigger holes means more experiments are possible, and researchers can now use lasers to take measurements as an experiment happens.If you are a technology geek this is great news as these experiments could now lead to advancements in semiconductors, or the production of higher efficiency solar cells. It’s not limited to those areas though, and could benefit a range of scientific fields including physics, chemistry, biology, and nanoscience in particular.The team that developed the new split magnet at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory said they had to overcome a number of obstacles to create such a powerful device. Those obstacles included people telling them it was impossible. But in the end they proved the sceptics wrong and beat the old record of 17.5 tesla set in 1991. The 25 tesla version is 43% more powerful.Even though the unit in the image looks quite large, the actual magnet with the holes in can be held in your hand as seen here:Don’t let its size fool you though, when the split magnet is operational it takes 3,500 gallons of water every minute to keep it cool and requires 160,000 amps of electric current. The cost of the build was also significant and totalled $2.5 million.More at The Florida State University, via BBClast_img

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