New record of magnetic field reaches the ideal for nuclear fusion

Scientists at the University of Tokyo has recorded the largest magnetic field in the laboratory: a huge amount of 1,200 teslas, measured in standard units of magnetic field strength.

In comparison, this is a field strength 400 times greater than those generated by the large and powerful magnets used in the MRI machines of modern hospitals, and is approximately 50 million times stronger than the Earth's own magnetic field. .

Previously stronger magnetic fields have been achieved in outdoor experiments using chemical explosives, but this is a world record for magnetic fields generated in the interior in a controlled manner.

That greater control means that the discovery could open new frontiers in solid-state physics, perhaps allowing scientists to achieve what is known as the "quantum limit," a condition where all electrons in a material are confined to the state fundamental lower, where exotic quantum phenomena can appear.

The high magnetic field also has implications for nuclear fusion reactors, a potential future tantalizing source if not carried out with abundant clean energy. To reach the quantum limit or sustain nuclear fusion, scientists believe that magnetic field strengths of 1,000 tesla or more are needed.

The experiments that set the new world record are described in an article that appears this week in the Review Review of Scientific Instruments, by AIP Publishing.

The work opens a new scientific horizon, said Daisuke Nakamura, first author of the article, and "has pushed the limits of ultra-high magnetic fields."