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Record-Setting 100+ T Magnetic Field Achieved At Los Alamos

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the go-big-or-go-home dept.

Science 166

New submitter schrodingersGato writes "Researchers at the Los Alamos campus of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory achieved a record-setting 100.75 Tesla magnetic field. To do this, scientists placed a resistive magnet (a sophisticated electromagnet) coupled to massive bank of capacitors within another magnet fixed at a 'lower' magnetic field. A short-lived pulse two million times stronger than the Earth's magnetic field was generated. The magnet itself made an eerie sound as it was energized (video). Prepare for the birth of Magneto!"

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166 comments

Interplanetary Space? (3, Interesting)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455139)

How much stronger would a field have to be to protect a hypothetical ship the size of the space shuttle from solar winds and other non-EM ionizing radiation in interplanetary space?

If 100 tesla is achievable now, then I can imagine it wouldn't take long before a field can be generated which would be powerful enough to provide a buffer against most ionizing radiation a la Earth's own magnetic field, but I could be way in the realm of science fiction with this thought.

Re:Interplanetary Space? (4, Interesting)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455179)

The earths magnetic field is not strong, it's just huge. You're probably more burdned by power and weight and size contraints if you want to shield a shuttle than field strenght.

What I find interesting with this is that some "magic physics" theories postulates funny things to be possible at some ~50 tesla strenght. Probably won't show up anything, but testing them to falsify is always a noble goal.

Offend the Liberal Bedwetters! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455261)

What does NAACP stand for? Now Apes Are Called People.

Why are there only 2 pall bearers at black funerals? Garbage cans only have two handles.

What does the BFI logo on the side of a dumpster stand for? Black Family Inside.

Why is it cruel to give Tootsie Rolls to little black kids? They'll bite their own fingers off.

What do you say to Mike Tyson with no arms and no legs? Nigger, nigger, nigger!

What do Christmas ornaments and niggers have in common? Both look good hangin from a tree.

How do you improve transportation in Harlem? Plant the trees closer together.

Re:Interplanetary Space? (3, Informative)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456991)

What I find interesting with this is that some "magic physics" theories postulates funny things to be possible at some ~50 tesla strenght. Probably won't show up anything, but testing them to falsify is always a noble goal.

They went to pulsed 200T in 1950-ies [wikipedia.org] (see the MK2 in 1956).

Re:Interplanetary Space? (0)

demonbug (309515) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455279)

How much stronger would a field have to be to protect a hypothetical ship the size of the space shuttle from solar winds and other non-EM ionizing radiation in interplanetary space?

A hypothetical ship is the easiest kind to protect from all sorts of dangers; the size doesn't even matter!

Or were you asking, hypothetically, what the field strength needed to protect a space-shuttle size ship would be?

(Pedants hide their ignorance and inability to answer the question by making fun of the grammar of the parent)

Re:Interplanetary Space? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455401)

Well, it is likely very possible to do considering pretty new research just done right there.
We have now managed to make an anti-magnet that works very well. In fact, I'd better describe it as a magnetic pipe more than anything since it bends the field around it.
Ship in the middle of it would work very well.

Some future versions of both of them may very well be the forcefields of Scifi we will be using on our spaceships in however many centuries it takes us to get off this rock. (or if we are really lucky, decades, but I doubt it)

Not just field strength (3, Interesting)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455571)

How much stronger would a field have to be to protect a hypothetical ship the size of the space shuttle from solar winds

The deflection of charged particles in a magnetic field is roughly proportional to the strength of the field and the "thickness" of the field i.e. the distance that the charged particle travels through it. So (ignoring important complexities like varying field strength, ship geomtery etc.) a 100T field 1 m around the craft would be roughly as effective as a 1T field extending 100m around the craft.

Re:Not just field strength (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39456011)

So... Would this mean "Yes"?

If not, then what strength is needed to block or reflect ionizing radiation? 1T is the magnetic field strength of Earth, no?

Re:Not just field strength (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39456163)

So... Would this mean "Yes"?

If not, then what strength is needed to block or reflect ionizing radiation? 1T is the magnetic field strength of Earth, no?

No. Just reread the OP.

Re:Not just field strength (1)

Truth is life (1184975) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456299)

Um...no. 1 T is a very powerful field (100 T is just incredibly powerful). The Earth's magnetic field is measured in gauss, which are 1/10,000th of a Tesla. Many magnets in common use have much more intense fields nearby (although of course their fields aren't as extended as Earth's). The question of deflecting particles is considerably more complicated than just "how strong" the magnet is.

Re:Not just field strength (4, Informative)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456373)

You're damn right 100T is incredibly powerful. Most MRI rings for humans max out at 3T. Some of the experimental medical rings are 7T-8T and you have to be really careful working around those. I can't imagine 100T. Hell, we stuck a dumpster to a brick wall with a 5T magnet.

Re:Not just field strength (1)

HuguesT (84078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456561)

Small animals MRI machines go up to 17T.

Re:Not just field strength (2)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456621)

There a comment lower down that talks about a human rated magnet in the teens. It's been a while since I was in diagnostic imaging, and the 8T magnets at the time had tiny bore holes, and were limited to small animal use.

Jeez, 17T, that must have amazing resolution. Any idea how many slices?

Re:Not just field strength (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456685)

I remember an NMR spectrometer from when I was in college that had a 4T field. Keep your credit cards and mechanical watches away!
17T or 100T is wacky strong.

Re:Not just field strength (1)

Xiterion (809456) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456369)

1T is the magnetic field strength of Earth, no?

Nope. That's off by a few orders of magnitude. The magnetic field of the Earth is about 30e-6 to 60e-6 T at the surface, depending on where you measure it at. The key is the Earth's magnetic field is extremely large in human terms, since it's large enough to easily fill multiple Earth radii.

Re:Interplanetary Space? (4, Interesting)

XiaoMing (1574363) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455673)

It's great that you can quote a few numbers you recall being important and draw inferences from them, but please leave the science to people who didn't just read the summary of an article, and go "hey that number I just read is bigger than another one I remember reading about somewhere else, so I'm close to discovering a solution!"

This is like if you find out that if you place a 50lb bag on a 100 foot lever, you can generate 5000ft-lb of torque, and holy crap how far away are we from sandbag-lever arm car engines!?

First off:
This is a transient field generated by an electric current that was created through the discharge of capacitor banks. The banks themselves probably took a few minutes to charge up, at a power draw unsustainable for any space vehicle, and discharged a "short lived" pulse, which from the video, was order of seconds. Regardless, the point of mentioning "short-lived" is obviously that this cannot run in steady state, which wouldn't do much for protection.

Second (and you and whoever modded you up have probably heard of this exciting term too):
The physics behind an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) is exactly what this magnet would create: a large magnetic flux change through closed conducting circuits. That means that if you can't generate this type of magnetic field in steady state (remember the words "short-lived"?), you'd end up frying more components than whatever charged particles you want to protect against.

Third:
Does anyone know how standard magnetic fields are generated, or at least bother to take a look at the pretty pictures in the article? The 100T that was quoted was undoubtedly in the center of the giant metal solenoid (new buzzword for the pseudoscientists out there!). To "protect" a space vehicle from more science words using this specific methodology basically means building a giant metal sewer pipe around every space shuttle to begin with. The technology required to be useful in stellar flight requires small modular field generators that can create magnetic fields external to itself (and anything it wants to protect), not internal (where once again dFlux/dt would fry your circuits).

Finally:
"Non-EM ionizing radiation" is a cute and exciting phrase, but really that just means other "ions". And yes, if a magnetic field can stop a proton (a hydrogen ion) from that "non-EM" solar wind, it'll stop other forms of ions as well, as they all follow the same physics of being a massive (i.e. having mass) charged particle.

+3 interesting?? What the fuck, mods.

Re:Interplanetary Space? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455911)

+ 5 Informative, -6 for being a snarky asshole.

Re:Interplanetary Space? (2)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456171)

You must be new here.

Re:Interplanetary Space? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456245)

I think you got the sign on the second mod wrong.

Re:Interplanetary Space? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39456251)

FYI: your reply would have been more interesting without the snobbery and generally superior attitude. You may be technically correct, but you sound like an ass.

Re:Interplanetary Space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39456719)

Who cares what someone sounds like. What's important is the information they give.

Re:Interplanetary Space? (0)

avandesande (143899) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456757)

This information is unimportant to 99% of the people that read this article

Re:Interplanetary Space? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39456337)

Short answer: no your idea is not feasible using current techniques and knowledge.

I really hope you aren't a scientist with that attitude. As a purse string puller yours would be empty so fast, Starbucks would spurt out of your nose at a reasonable fraction of c.

Re:Interplanetary Space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39456363)

What a fucking douchebag.

BTW you also don't have a clear understanding of what is discussed here. I know you read a few more articles than the parent, so you think you are a smarty pants. You are not. You are a fucking asshole who wants to slam other slightly-less-informed people about something meaningless to the discussion of the OP.

Re:Interplanetary Space? (4, Insightful)

Xiterion (809456) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456433)

This is a transient field generated by an electric current that was created through the discharge of capacitor banks.

If you're going to pour on the snark, you could at least read enough of the article to understand that, while a capacitor bank is used in establishing the magnetic field, the primary energy storage was from a motor-generator that stores 1.2 GJ of energy for the experiments. So, while I agree that it's frustrating to hear half baked ideas for applications of exciting new science to pet science fiction dreams, doing so in a confrontational manner does little to actually enhance the knowledge of the folks making those sorts of suggestions.

Re:Interplanetary Space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39456579)

Thank you for the sanctimonious explanation! I bet the magnetic field generated by you patting yourself in the back was fairly significant.

Re:Interplanetary Space? (4, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456729)

Does anyone know how standard magnetic fields are generated, or at least bother to take a look at the pretty pictures in the article? The 100T that was quoted was undoubtedly in the center of the giant metal solenoid (new buzzword for the pseudoscientists out there!). To "protect" a space vehicle from more science words using this specific methodology basically means building a giant metal sewer pipe around every space shuttle to begin with.

This in itself shows a clear lack of understanding of how magnetic fields work. Magnetic fields are closed loops: what that means is, if there is a 100T flux through the middle of the magnet, there will also be an intense magnetic field curving back around the outside of the magnet (this is middle-school physics here). So if you ran the magnet through the center of the ship (and had sufficient power to leave it on, or hell a permanent magnet would also work), it would create a magnetic field that would extend around the entirety of the ship, which would deflect and charged particles stream that got near the ship (except at the ends, where like the Earth's north pole, the field would be parallel to incoming particles and wouldn't be deflected). Indeed, that design would be exactly identical to the Earth's magnetic field.

Also, the EMP effect would be non-existent if you could keep the magnet charged (assuming you built up slowly), so that point is... well, not relevant to the posters question (he didn't say this design would work, only asked how strong the field would need to be in general). And your third point is just being snarky. He asked an interesting hypothetical question, and you answered snarkily and, ironically, in a way that revealed your own ignorance.

Re:Interplanetary Space? (1, Flamebait)

XiaoMing (1574363) | more than 2 years ago | (#39457007)

And it's pretty clear that high school physics was where your understanding ended.

Re: closed loops
Grab a plasma physics text (which is highly applicable in the regime of astrphysical charged particles) and learn about the conservation of magnetic moment. This was the basis for Z-pinch style devices attempting fusion towards the end of the cold war, and it's also the basis for why charged particles stuck in the earth's magnetic field DON'T just completely fry the northern and southern poles, but rather bounce around from the north to the south magnetic poles (I'm sure you've learned this in your high school classes as well?)

Also, try to understand how modern day fusion devices such as tokamaks do not contain all of the closed loop magnetic field lines within the containment vessel itself, but are able to direct leakage particles to areas specifically designed for high energy charged particle impacts (divertors).

Re: EMP:
The whole point was that OP's excitement was based on a complete lack of understanding of just how differently steady-state and transient responses can be in the realm of physics. This experiment in question being at one end of highly transient, and the avoidance of EMP related chip frying being on the other. That you can wonderfully point out the grey area that occurs between the two extremes deserves almost a pat on the back I guess... but if that were the case people could make careers out of just stating the obvious.

Master's in plasma physics and I have a moron who can't do math try to bluff while quoting shit from high school, really?

Re:Interplanetary Space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455701)

Look out Mars, here we come.

What would survive. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455183)

This would make an excellent MRI If it doesn't rip all the blood from your body.

Re:What would survive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455263)

And if that doesn't happen, you'd still have to get a meaningful amount of HF radiation into the body, which is kinda hard at 4.2+ GHz...

Re:What would survive. (2)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455337)

This would make an excellent </Mr. Burns> death-ray if it did rip all the blood from someone else's body.

Re:What would survive. (2)

schrodingersGato (2602023) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455425)

The issue is not the magnetic field strength (which only aligns the nuclear spins). Instead, the major hurdle would be that microwave frequency radiation would be needed to image a person at that field strength (rather than radio-frequency) at typical MRI [wikipedia.org] field strengths, thus cooking the person by dielectric heating [wikipedia.org] . Also, the iron in hemoglobin is paramagnetic, not ferromagnetic. It is aligned by the magnetic field, but is not at risk of being torn out of the body. Though if you like iron shavings with your breakfast cereal...

Re:What would survive. (3, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455687)

The strongest MRI currently used on humans is 9.1T and a 13T MRI scanner is being built - might already be finished. Given that the 9.1T is good enough to see individual neurons, the 13T scanner might be good enough to start seeing the fine structure of the synapses. I look forward to seeing the photos that will hopefully be published once the scanner gets going.

It would be interesting to see how far you could go before the damage becomes excessive. Would it be possible to build an MRI capable of directly observing the proteins that control and form memories? Could you observe the tau protein unpeeling as Alzheimer's begins? (Long before structural changes occur, which in turn is long before symptoms appear.)

How about archaeological uses? Could a high-power MRI reveal something of the mental state of the various bog bodies that have been found? What about Otzi? If we can directly observe memory structure, could we interrogate his brain to find out what happened to him?

Re:What would survive. (1)

Megahard (1053072) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455777)

Frogs have been levitated [www.ru.nl] in a 10T field. Would these machines levitate humans? Or would there be problems from the machine focusing on one part of the body?

Re:What would survive. (2)

schrodingersGato (2602023) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455935)

MRi is technically just a euphemism for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) imaging. The N was dropped because it of the obvious stigma that word possesses outside of scientific circles. We already have structures [rcsb.org] of these proteins solved by NMR. The next challenge is indeed to view these molecular systems in-vivo [infai.com] . I doubt that these techniques will actually make it out of the research setting. MRi's with fields higher than 3T are having trouble being approved by the FDA for clinical use. This is complicated by the fact that high field instruments are really expensive to begin with. Other scientists are working hard to advance the image quality in other [weizmann.ac.il] ways.

Re:What would survive. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456581)

Technically, the FDA has already stated that 7.3T MRI is approved for clinical use, so any hold-ups between the 3T and 7.3T range is arguably in violation of their own approval process. Further, scanners for medical research using live patients do not need FDA approval and can go at high as they like, which is why there are 3-4 9.1T scanners already in use. Patients with actual clinical need can also gain access to non-approved systems, subject to all manner of waivers and disclaimers.

Improving sensitivity is good, yes, but so far most of the micro-T MRIs are useless for brain scans of live patients.

The main problem with high-T MRI is that the impact of magnetic radiation on the brain is still largely unknown. We don't know what dosage is safe, we only know what doesn't appear to kill people. On that basis, it would not surprise me if the limit went up to 9.1T at some point as that has been shown to not cause people's brains to melt and doesn't appear to cause the kinds of tumours described in the pilot episode of Space: 1999.

However, obviously I'm all for improved image quality. So long as the two approaches can be mixed without hitting diminishing returns, they should be.

Re:What would survive. (2)

schrodingersGato (2602023) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456847)

The issue is not the magnetic field, its the dielectric heating from the microwave-frequency radiation needed to detect nuclear spins at the higher magnetic fields. Yes, the cell-phone radiation issue has raised the question of whether other (yet undetected) phenomena can occur in cells (like changes in gene regulation/expression) in response to microwave radiation. The issue of cooking a patient is by far a bigger challenge. Patients can get waivers for high field MRIs, but the spectrometers are still not very common (mostly due to their price). Image quality can be improved by other, cheaper methods such as DNP [wikipedia.org] . Most hospitals still use 2-D, black and white (X-ray style) renderings of MRi data due to their policy, level of comfortability, and in some cases law. Also, a limited number of MRi experiments are even approved for diagnostics (even the hyped fMRi/lie detector is not technically FDA approved to treat or diagnose anything). Other than an elite group of specialist physicians and medical research scientists, most clinicians probably would not be able to take advantage of the improved resolution of high field instruments unfortunately.

Re:What would survive. (2)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456919)

Molecules absorb at very specific frequencies, so provided you don't emit microwave radiation at the hydroxide bond frequency or any other frequencies "reserved" by biochemistry, you should be safe enough. That means that you need to be very selective about microwave frequency components, which in turn means specific sized magnets won't be usable at all. Those not in the automatically excluded list will depend on how good you are at ensuring genuinely harmful frequencies either don't occur or don't reach the person.

Of course, it's very easy to talk about absorption bands. It's much, much harder to build very high-power devices that stay out of said bands.

Re:What would survive. (1)

schrodingersGato (2602023) | more than 2 years ago | (#39457015)

Agreed. I am fortunate to work at a facility with a lot of talented physicist and engineers who are building the next generations of these magnets. I, the lowly life-scientist, am just surfing off their accomplishments. Occasionally I do remind them that living samples require require some delicacy though...

Re:What would survive. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39456969)

20 years later after having my head routinely very close (not in) at the bottom of 8T narrow bores, roughly maybe +5T, has apparently not affected me, though my wife begs to differ, I am sure. But I do have this crazy affinity for heme... is that a zombie apocalypse?

Re:What would survive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39456039)

"How about archaeological uses? Could a high-power MRI reveal something of the mental state of the various bog bodies that have been found? What about Otzi? If we can directly observe memory structure, could we interrogate his brain to find out what happened to him?"

Otzi would most likely have been thinking "boy am I ever a dumb shit for getting caught in this blizzard up this mountain!"
Perhaps his frozen brain might be compared to others that have frozen to death to see if there is some connection. But understanding how and why he died will only come down to an assumption albeit an educated one. More powerful mri tech will definitely enhance forensics within the next 5 years. But I doubt that it will be all that useful in the field of neural chemical science.

To obtain the level of fine grain imaging you are suggesting we would be reaching the point that imaging of the subject without destroying or altering the subject could become a real problem.

Re:What would survive. (1)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456429)

Who's building the 13T? When I got out of diagnostic imaging, 8T was as big as we got, and those things were monsters but the bore hole was only large enough for the leg of a small dog.

Re:What would survive. (2)

schrodingersGato (2602023) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456655)

Agilent (Varian) has a system that is up to 16T [agilent.com] and Bruker has systems up to almost 12T [bruker-biospin.com] . Technically, the highest field MRI is at the NHMFL [fsu.edu] (21T at 900MHz), but it cannot accept live samples so it doesn't count...

Re:What would survive. (3, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456689)

In unrelated news... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455199)

>> A short-lived pulse two million times stronger than the Earth's magnetic field was generated.

In unrelated news, government researchers have issued an RFP for 100 new disk drives and data recovery services.

Re:In unrelated news... (1)

SmurfButcher Bob (313810) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455439)

Dammit, I thought I told the HARP project guys to spin down during that period!

EAT IT, Thomas! (5, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455213)

There ain't no SI unit named after Edison. beeeotch!

Re:EAT IT, Thomas! (1)

syphax (189065) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455397)

It's really Gauss who is Tesla's bitch...

I love that the record is 100 Tesla. No scaling prefixes necessary.

Re:EAT IT, Thomas! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455719)

It's really Gauss who is Tesla's bitch...

I love that the record is 100 Tesla. No scaling prefixes necessary.

Depends on what record you are talking about. The highest man-made magnetic fields are created in magnets that self-destruct - laser plasma configurations more specifically. For example a somewhat random magnetic field of GigaGauss values can be created with Petawatt lasers shooting at solid targets:
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2004mmfg.conf..161S

Or more coherent, solenoid-type fields of tens of MegaGauss can be created via magnetic flux compression (check wikipedia), either with explosives or, again, with lasers:
dspace.mit.edu/openaccess-disseminate/1721.1/52471

Re:EAT IT, Thomas! (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456699)

You mean 1 hectoTesla, or 0.1 kiloTesla?

Re:EAT IT, Thomas! (5, Funny)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455437)

i propose we use Edisons as units of patents trolled

Re:EAT IT, Thomas! (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455703)

Would the Edison use Imperial or Metric units?

Re:EAT IT, Thomas! (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456157)

how to use Edisons in a sentence:

"Intellectual Ventures is responsible for over 1 million Edisons since the company began."

"A couple more Edisons and I won't have to actually invent anything again!"

"Forget the Benjamins, it's all about the Edisons!"

"I want this new batch of patents we bought Edisoned by the next fiscal quarter!"

"Yo dawg, I heard you like Edisons so I Edisoned your Edisons so you can Edison while you Edison."

k, maybe not that last one...

"Yo dawg, I heard you like Edisons, so I changed a few dates in my own Edison and added facebook sharing so you can't Edison my Edison while I Edison your Edison."

that's a little better...

Re:EAT IT, Thomas! (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456159)

Only when the trolling C&Ds are carried by an unladen swallow.

Re:EAT IT, Thomas! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455655)

Sadly, there is an award named after Edison and he gets all the attention in schoolbooks. Seems Edison's slow, amateur progress from a telegraph addict to inventing one of the least efficient light sources known to man is preferable to teaching about the 'madman' who repeatedly did the 'impossible' and established the technological foundation for the majority of modern age.

Probably just a bunch of teachers scared about what the middle-school science fairs would look like if Tesla had been part of the lesson plan...

Warp drive next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455223)

Great so how long till we can generate the magnetic feild large enough for the warp drive?

Re:Warp drive next? (2)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455273)

Actually, for all you physicists out there and just for goggles, what kind of power and size of device would you need to give a spacecraft a magnetic field strong to protect that craft from radiation in the same manner the earth's magnetic field protects us?

Re:Warp drive next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455307)

it already will happen in roughly five years ago.

Re:Warp drive next? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455349)

We will need it to reach 1 Cochrane.

Hey we are talking about fictional technology so lets use fictional units of measurements.

Re:Warp drive next? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455879)

Los Alamos can't say. For some reason all of the hard drives storing the data were wiped.

I thought I felt (1)

Troyusrex (2446430) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455249)

the change in my pocket move.

Re:I thought I felt (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455277)

...and I had a hard-drive failure. Damn you, Los Alamos!

Re:I thought I felt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455969)

... and my plane crashed on a weird island. Damn you, Los Alamos!

Re:I thought I felt (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455465)

That wasn't change.

Re:I thought I felt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455821)

Did anyone else note in the video the apparent movement of that dangling cable/belt, right around the time the sound hit its apex?

Re:I thought I felt (1)

mmontour (2208) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455947)

Many years ago I had a summer job at the TRIUMF cyclotron. When you stood above the main magnet (on top of a thick layer of concrete shielding blocks) the field was strong enough that you could hold one coin vertically and stick another one onto its bottom edge.

The stray field was too weak to affect credit cards or hard drives, but it did do interesting things to the CRT monitors in nearby offices.

Did they send a poet? (1)

bradorsomething (527297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455295)

Because they should have sent a poet.

What insights will we gain from this? (2)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455299)

What insights will we gain from this breakthrough? As it stands it sounds as impressive as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Cool, but sort of useless.

Why did they choose 100 Tesla as a target? Why not 117 Tesla? That is even more!

Re:What insights will we gain from this? (2)

Pranadevil2k (687232) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455417)

It doesn't go to 111 :(

Re:What insights will we gain from this? (1)

bengoerz (581218) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455497)

The number of symbolic. But giant electromagnets make some pretty awesome railgun weapons: http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=65193 [navy.mil] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1q_rRicAwI [youtube.com]

Re:What insights will we gain from this? (1)

bengoerz (581218) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455517)

*The number is symbolic.

Re:What insights will we gain from this? (1)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456713)

The number is rather numeric. ABC is rather symbolic, wouldn't you say? :)

So a bunch of "boffins" (yes I read The Register sometimes) created a magnetic field which, measured in some completely arbitrary units of flux density, precisely achieved a figure which is the square of the number of digits endowing the two human upper appendages.

Re:What insights will we gain from this? (2)

sloth jr (88200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455557)

It seems to be evolutionary work that will likely strengthen magnetic containment fusion (eg Tokamak/ITER) research.

Re:What insights will we gain from this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455709)

Useless? From TFA on their website,

Mielke said that since the team's latest foray into magnetic fields above 90 tesla, theyâ(TM)ve demonstrated that they can measure:

  • Upper critical fields of superconductors- radio frequency contactless conductivity
  • Quantum magnetic transitionsâ"magnetic susceptibility
  • Electrical resistivity - magnetotransport
  • Optical spectroscopy - visible light transmission
  • Crystallographic length change- fiber-optic dilatometry

"Now, at 100 tesla, we can focusing our efforts to get multiple user experiments completed in single magnet runs on the big magnets since they are so oversubscribed. More than a dozen people are working together to make this happen here at the Laboratory," said Mielke.

The ability to create pulses of extremely high magnetic fields nondestructively provides researchers with an unprecedented tool for studying a range of scientific questions: from how materials behave under the influence of very high magnetic fields, to research into the quantum behavior of phase transitions in solids.

Researchers can explore extremes of low temperature and high magnetic field, which will contribute to our understanding of superconductivity, magnetic-field-induced phase transitions, and so-called quantum critical points, in which small changes in materials properties at very low temperature have dramatic effects on physical behavior.

The breakthrough is steady progression of science. 100 is a nice number. Like 10T, 100T, 1000T. Something to compare.

I know, I know, this stuff is hard, so may as well say it is useless.... :S

Re:What insights will we gain from this? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455845)

From TFA:

"Today’s 100.75-tesla performance produced research results for scientific teams from Rutgers University, ÉcoleNationaleSupérieure d’Ingénieurs deCaen (ENSICAEN), McMaster University, University of Puerto Rico, University of Minnesota, Cambridge University, University of British Columbia, and Oxford University. The science that we expect to come out varies with the experiment, but can be summarized as:
Quantum Phase transitions and new ultra high field magnetic states
Electronic Structure determination
Topologically protected states of matter"

Re:What insights will we gain from this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455897)

I respectfully disagree. I think it has many uses.

These are tools, and as we expand the range of what our tools can do, we can learn and observe even more about our universe. The real goods come after these tools are used and explored.

I am sure physicists would love to have better tools to study the fundamentals of magnetism. Perhaps find hints on ways to create monopoles?

Astrophysicists might learn some of the ways high Gauss fields interact with matter. I am not sure how much we know about or what we might want to learn about the ultra dense celestial objects like Magnetars myself.

Material scientists (even said in the video) would love to know about superconductivity and possibly narrow searches for creating room temperature superconductors.

Re:What insights will we gain from this? (1)

NoAccountBoozer (2000986) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455953)

What insights will we gain from this breakthrough? As it stands it sounds as impressive as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Cool, but sort of useless.

Since someone went and created a "National High Magnetic Field Laboratory" I would imagine this someone thinks there are some useful and valuable insights to be gained.

Re:What insights will we gain from this? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456049)

The linked article already says what insights they are gaining - they're measuring quantities never measured before. I think your real question is, "how can this be commercialized?" The answer is, nobody knows yet. But do you know how much basic science and engineering must be done before some opportunistic company can swoop in, put it in a shiny box, and become trillionaires selling it? These physicists aren't Exxon pumping oil from the ground. They're chloroplasts slowly producing biomass through photosynthesis, some of which will eventually become that oil.

Re:What insights will we gain from this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39456103)

Yeah, somewhere there are 3-fingered aliens who count in octal and use a different measure for magnetic field. They are totally unimpressed.

Re:What insights will we gain from this? (1)

Black.Shuck (704538) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456263)

Why did they choose 100 Tesla as a target? Why not 117 Tesla? That is even more!

1.17 Holy Grails [youtube.com] ? That's crazy talk!

Peep science (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455341)

Yes, but what will it do to a marshmallow peep?

Minus 1, Tqroll) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455407)

Strong enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455423)

Forget that A+ test, I bet this thing will hold your dissertation on the fridge!

Now I know! (1)

ccanucs (2529272) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455613)

Ah! So *that's* where my keys went!

;-)

W

Bbbzzzttt! (0)

mholve (1101) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455639)

All your ferromagnetic objects are belong to us!

I, for one, welcome our magnetic overlords. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455661)

I, for one, welcome our magnetic overlords.

Would have made an awesome coin crusher (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455825)

Like this one [kenscoil.com] but much more so.

YAY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39455863)

Who knew you could have so much fun with magnets, as a government employee, before you happen to die from a heart attack before retirement. That is the best PR geek celebration I have ever seen!

Imagine (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 2 years ago | (#39455913)

Wow! Imagine a Beowulf cluster of....wait that makes no sense, nevermind.

natural fields 10^10 times stronger (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456123)

This is a record for an artificial field. The strongest naturally occurring fields are believed to be about 10^12 Tesla for some pulsars.

Re:natural fields 10^10 times stronger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39456329)

This is a record for an artificial field. The strongest naturally occurring fields are believed to be about 10^12 Tesla for some pulsars.

No, this is a record for a field generated by a device that suffers no (or more likely minimal) destruction in the process.
As stated in one of the previous comments, man can create MegaGauss (1 Tesla = 10000 Gauss) or even GigaGauss fields with lasers and magnetic flux compression.

Cell phone (2)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456181)

Since cell phones are said to cause cancer with the magnetic waves they create, how many people in LA will be suing Los Alamos in the near future?

Is it just me.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39456425)

Or does the "eery noise" the field device made when energized sound a lot like the TARDIS from Doctor Who?

new ftl drive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39456691)

I once read about an alternative field theory which would make spacetravel at ftl speed possible, all that was needed was a spinning superconductor over a 100T Magnetic field.
The Theory was called the Burkhardt-Heim Theory or something, it also predicted the masses of most elementary particles quite accurately.
Unfortunately it also predicted a new kind of neutrino which, at the predicted energy range, does not exist, so I guess its either wrong or at least seriously flawed.

They're too late with this stunt. (1)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456731)

If the neighborhood still watched tube TV's, you could distort or completely blank everyone's picture within an X mile radius.

Strong Magnets! (but only transient) (1)

AceJohnny (253840) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456759)

I used to work next to the french Laboratoire National des Champs Magnétiques Intenses [grenoble.cnrs.fr] (Powerful Magnetic Field National Laboratory) and was lucky enough to visit it once during the yearly Science Day (why don't we have this in the US?).

They claimed they had the second most powerful magnets in the world, IIRC behind the Fermilab, at about 32T (again, IIRC). Note that this is a sustained magnetic field, not transient as the OP's record. (still, hitting 100T without destroying the magnet is one hell of a feat! Now if only we could find a source of power to sustain such a field...).

32T is extremely high, more powerful than any natural magnetic field on Earth (according to WP, the Earth's field is about 25uT at the equator to 65uT at the poles). The most powerful permanent magnets (rare-earth) can achieve a little under 1T, and good luck getting that magnet off a piece of steel. 32T is achieved only in a space about the size of 2 coke-cans at the center of a large cylindrical apparatus that is the concentric electromagnets. But even at such a strength, the fields we make are dwarfed by stellar and interstellar magnetic fields, that have been calculated to reach hundreds or thousands of Teslas.

Fun facts: they run the magnets at night, when power is significantly cheaper. They have big banks of capacitors and batteries for spare surge power. The (classical) electromagnets aren't built by spooling wire on a tube, because wire isn't thick enough the sustain the kind of current that goes through. Instead they take a thick copper tube that they slice in a spiral and insert an isolator in the spacing.

Their most powerful magnets were formed of a core superconducting electromagnet surrounded by standard electromagnets. The cost of superconducting materials is what prevent them from making more powerful stuff.

But despite all that, I'm still not sure what kind of experiments require such powerful magnetic fields. Such awesome engineering, so few applications...

Test for Heim theory (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456875)

IIRC, Heim theory [wikipedia.org] proposes a type of antigravity effect based on magnetic interactions.

The effect is difficult to test on Earth, because the effect is smaller the closer you get to a gravitational body. I seem to recall an experiment on Earth would require something like 14T to produce a measurable effect.

Maybe we could set up the Heim propulsion using this system and definitively decide whether Heim was correct?

Ah - here [hpcc-space.de] is the link. The paper tosses out values of 25T and 60T as needed to do interesting things.

I feel a disturbance in the Force ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39456957)

.... as if millions of Juggalos [urbandictionary.com] suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

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