above 300 T can be generated for microseconds. As the duration of the field pulse a magnet delivers declines, however, so too does its utility as a tool for scientific research. Consequently, the committee took the view that both the technologies and the science associated with fields of very short duration (less than a few milliseconds) lie outside the scope of its inquiry.2

This report has been written for readers who have a technical background and at least some familiarity with high magnetic field science. The committee’s decision to write at this level was made following discussions with the NSF. The body of this report begins with an overview of the science that is being done using high-field magnets and the science opportunities and challenges that might open up if higher-field magnets were developed. It closes with a discussion of magnet technology that explains why the fields generated by today’s most powerful DC magnets are less than two orders of magnitude stronger than those available to scientists in the 19th century, and points out the opportunities that now exist for developing more powerful magnets. This report includes several appendixes the readers may find useful, such as descriptions of selected high-field facilities around the globe, tutorials on advanced topics, and a glossary of common terms.


Most pulsed magnet techniques offering high fields of duration less than 1 ms are of the destructive variety, where the magnet is designed to explode with each use. For instance, single-turn coil magnet devices driven by a capacitor can generate fields of 100-250 T for 4-8 µs.

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