"This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5)."
A 32 Tesla superconducting magnet based on YBCO coated conductor will be designed, fabricated and installed in a user facility at the National High Magnetic field Laboratory. The magnet will be the first major application of High Temperature Superconductors in a very high field solenoid magnet. The 32 T magnet will consist of three inner YBCO coils with a combined field of 17 T in a background field of 15 T produced by a Low Temperature Superconductor outer magnet. The magnet will have a cold bore of 34 mm with a field uniformity of 5x10-4 in a 1 cm. spherical volume. The length of YBCO coated conductor contained in the magnet is 8 km. The design and fabrication of the 32 T magnet will be preceded by a development activity for the YBCO coils. The conductor will be characterized for superconducting and mechanical properties. Aspects of the magnet technology including winding, joints, insulation, and reinforcement will be examined through modeling and test coils. Quench protection will be studied in a series of small coils. The results of the development activities will be incorporated in two prototype coils that will demonstrate both pancake winding and layer winding, tested at high field and stress. The 15 T LTS outer magnet will be specified and procured from a commercial supplier. The combined magnet and cryostat will be assembled and tested, and then installed in the micro-Kelvin user facility at the NHMFL.
Layman Summary: Ever since the discovery of High Temperature Superconductors in 1987, there has been promise of new technologies that will be made possible by these materials. One of these technologies is very high field superconducting magnets. The importance of lower field superconducting magnets has become familiar in the form of medical imaging magnets. Very high field superconducting magnets are used at the forefront of advanced materials research and in the study of biological systems including proteins and viruses. The possibility of using High Temperature Superconductors in very high field magnets is of particular interest to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, which has the charter to provide facilities and access to high magnetic fields to researchers nationally. Presently, very high magnetic fields are achieved with the age old technology of electromagnets using copper conductor windings. These magnets require large amounts of electric power, with the result that research time is limited due to cost. Superconducting magnets operate at a fraction of the electric power even when operated continuously. Up until now, superconducting magnets have been restricted to moderate field values because of fundamental performance limitations of the superconductors being used. But High Temperature Superconductors are also High Field Superconductors, and in particular the High Temperature Superconductor Yttrium Barium Copper Oxide (YBCO), also called simply 1-2-3, has advanced rapidly in commercial development to the point that it is ready for application in high field magnets. The process of building high field magnets using YBCO requires further invention, and this will be addressed in the 32 Tesla magnet project. The 32 Tesla magnet will be an important first step in the technological revolution in high field magnets that will be made possible with the use of High Temperature Superconductors.