Scientists Just Broke The World Record For The Most Powerful Stable Magnetic Field

According to experts, a hybrid magnet in China has recently surpassed the previous record for the most potent steady magnetic field.

A magnet that took years to produce at the stable High Magnetic Field Facility (SHMFF) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has a stable magnetic field of 45.22 tesla, which is thousands of times stronger than the typical souvenir fridge magnet.

The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (MagLab) in the US had held the record for a constant magnetic field of 45 tesla since 1999, but this beats it. The discovery expands the parameters frequently used to examine different physical processes, opening up new avenues for investigation and invention.

The research teams at MagLab and SHMFF have each been developing their own hybrid magnets for a while. An outer superconducting ring and an inside resistive Bitter magnet (a magnet made of stacked plates) are used to create the magnetic field in this magnet. Each of these technologies has its own limitations: the Bitter magnet needs significantly more power input while the superconducting magnet has a maximum magnetic field strength.

These restrictions are considerably lessened by combining the two technologies, enabling the spread of a strong, continuous magnetic field. This is how the SHMFF achieved a stable magnetic field strength of 40 tesla in 2016—a remarkable accomplishment in and of itself—and how MagLab created their 45 tesla magnet.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences team, however, was not pleased to stop there and has continued to work on its magnet ever since. That effort has at last paid off.

According to physicist Guangli Kuang, academic head of the High Magnetic Field Laboratory of Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, "to achieve [a] higher magnetic field, we innovated the structure of the magnet, and developed new materials." The production of the Bitter CDs was improved as well.

The team was able to reach their 45.22 tesla record with a power input of 26.9 megawatts; once again, the magnet seems to be a leader. MagLab needs to supply 30 megawatts of electricity to its 45 tesla magnet.

The SHMFF magnet, according to the team, is a development in materials science.

The National Steady State High Magnetic Field Experiment Facility's hybrid magnet, according to the team's statement on the High Magnetic Field Laboratory website, "produces the highest steady state magnetic field in the world, effectively improving the experimental conditions for scientists to conduct material science research and will play an indispensable key role in the research of low-power electronic materials and other fields."

The hybrid magnet's openness, sharing, and user service levels will all significantly improve as the magnetic field's intensity grows.

In the meanwhile, MagLab continues to hold the record for the strongest magnetic field ever created on Earth: in a test run in 2019, a superconducting magnet temporarily reached a strength of 45.5 tesla. We'll watch to see whether further advancements cause it to formally overtake the lead.