Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • NEWS

Superconducting magnet breaks strength world record

The expulsion of a magnetic field from a supercomputer at Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois

A powerful new magnet is able to generate a stronger field than other superconducting magnets.Credit: Argonne National Laboratory/US Department of Energy/Science Photo Library

Scientists have created the world’s most powerful superconducting magnet, capable of generating a record magnetic field intensity of 45.5 tesla. Only pulsed magnets, which sustain fields for a fraction of a second at a time, have achieved higher intensities.

Materials scientist David Larbalestier and his collaborators at the US National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL) in Tallahassee, Florida, ran intense electric currents through coils made of a cuprate superconductor to generate magnetic fields with low energy consumption. The resulting field strength exceeded that of energy-hungry resistive magnets — which don’t use superconductors — used by state-of-the-art magnet labs. It also surpassed conventional superconductor magnets, and ‘hybrid’ superconducting–resistive magnets (see ‘Record-breaking magnets’). The results were published 12 June in Nature1.

Source: Mark Bird, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory

Previous cuprate-based magnets have been too fragile for use in technological applications, but the novel design should be able to sustain fields of up to 60 tesla, Larbalestier says. Thousands of researchers take their samples to magnet facilities such as the NHMFL every year, to conduct experiments with higher-intensity fields than can be achieved in a typical lab.



  1. Hahn, S. et al. Nature (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing


Quick links