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Novel insert coil for higher magnetic fields

Superconducting magnets are widely used in basic research, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) systems for medical diagnostics and energy applications. EU-funded researchers made important advances in increasing the magnetic fields possible with important implications for new product development.
Novel insert coil for higher magnetic fields
Superconducting magnets are able to produce large magnetic fields as a result of very high current densities (superconductivity) and do so with a very low energy requirement due to minimal electrical resistance.

Their full potential has not yet been realised due to limitations in the strength of the magnetic field created (measured in Tesla). Currently, state-of-the-art magnets have a maximum field strength of about 21 Tesla (T) related to performance of the low-temperature superconductor (LTS) coil wires.

European researchers set out to overcome this limitation with research conducted on the ‘Highest magnetic field insert coil made from high temperature superconductors for a 25 Tesla break-through’ (Higins) project.

Combining LTS outer sections with high-temperature superconductor (HTS) inner sections, produced a magnet capable of generating an 18–19 T field at a temperature of 4.2 Kelvin. The Higins magnet represents one of the highest steady fields currently available and, although a 25 T field was not achieved, the feasibility of the concept was clearly demonstrated.

As new conductors with up to 4 times greater current density (related to the magnetic field produced) are becoming available, the feasibility of a 25 T magnet in the near future is a distinct possibility provided extra support of the extremely high forces generated is included.

The Higins project made significant advances in understanding the technology required for producing a 25 T superconducting magnet. Such a breakthrough has the potential to open the door to a vast array of new research and experimentation, strengthening the European position in the supply of superconducting magnets and its research and development (R&D) position.

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