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ArrowMonthly Science Highlights

The National Science Foundation periodically solicits science highlights from the Magnet Lab. These monthly highlights, selected by MagLab Director Greg Boebinger, represent the most promising and cutting-edge research underway in the lab’s seven user programs. Below are our monthly highlights for 2014.

NSF Annual Highlights

In addition to these monthly highlights, the MagLab also compiles lists of NSF Annual Highlights.

Also visit our NSF Annual Highlights page for a compilation of end-of-year annual highlights. Or, for a list of select MagLab-enabled research recently published in prominent journals, please consult our Research Summaries Archive page.

Monthly Science Highlights Archives

Select a Year

Click on a highlight’s title to view a PDF with more details.

2014 Monthly Highlights

Competing Quantum Hall Phases in the Second Landau Level of 2D Electron Systems
New physics has had to be invoked to explain the existence of exotic quantum Hall states such as the n =5/2 and 7/2 states. Recent progress in fabrication of high-quality low-density samples allows one to probe these states in a new regime where the electron-electron interactions are strong. The results reveal the existence of anisotropic transport for n = 7/2 in a high-quality very dilute 2D electron system. The new behavior is attributed to a large Landau level mixing effect that perturbs the pairing stability of composite fermions in the dilute limit.

July Science Highlight - image of Temperature dependence of the resistivities Rxx and Ryy
Date: July 15, 2014
Research Area: Quantum Fluids and Solids
Site / Program: High B/T Facility
Instrument: Bay 3, MicroKelvin laboratory
Contact: Neil Sullivan
Grants: G.S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490); W. Pan (DE-AC04-94AL85000)

Normal State Electronic Structure in Underdoped High-Tc Cuprates
Comprehensive angle-resolved quantum oscillation measurements on YBa2Cu3O6+x in magnetic fields approaching 100 tesla are used to address longstanding problem of the normal state electronic of underdoped high temperature superconducting cuprates. The symmetry of the Fermi surface points uniquely to its reconstruction by biaxial ordering of the charge and bond degrees of freedom.

July Science Highlight - image of Location of Fermi surface pocket
Date: July 15, 2014
Research Area: Superconductivity - Basic
Site / Program: Pulsed and DC Field Facilities
Instrument: 100 Tesla Magnet and 45 Tesla Hybrid
Contact: Neil Harrison
Grants: G.S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490)

Diversity Expertise at the MagLab: Book Chapters Published by MagLab Authors on Advancing Participation of Women in STEM Fields
This book provides examples of how STEM faculty and administration can collaborate toward goals of recruiting, mentoring and promoting leadership to academic women faculty. It also features many studies that showcase women who have overcome obstacles in their STEM persistence, and provides best practices for improving the representation of girls and women in STEM fields.

July Science Highlight - image of a book Diversity Expertise at the MagLab
Date: July 15, 2014
Research Area: NA
Site / Program: Diversity
Instrument: NA
Contact: Dragana Popovic
Grants: G.S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490)

MagLab Summer Camps feature the Excitement of Robotic World Cup Soccer
The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory hosts two one-week co-educational summer camps in June. This year the campers got into the spirit of World Cup Soccer through the technology of Sphero ©. The MagLab Camp teachers facilitated campers' understanding and practical applications of computer programming and robotics through the Sphero robots. The final event was a Robot World Cup Match!

July Science Highlight - image of Robotic World Cup Soccer
Date: July 15, 2014
Research Area: NA
Site / Program: CIRL
Instrument: NA
Contact: Roxanne Hughes
Grants: G.S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490)

Direct Characterization of Porphyrins in Petroleum from Natural Seeps
Atmospheric pressure photoionization (APPI) Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) provides ultrahigh resolving power (m/Δm50% > 1,000,000 at m/z 500) and sub-ppm mass error (<50 ppb) required to identify nickel porphyrin isotopes for unambiguous elemental composition assignment. We also report the first simultaneous identification and categorization of both vanadyl and nickel porphyrins in the same sample, without prior sample fractionation.

June Science Highlight - ICR Facility
Date: June 16, 2014
Research Area: Chemistry
Site / Program: ICR Facility
Instrument: 9.4 Tesla Magnet
Contact: Amy McKenna
Grants: A.M. McKenna (NSF CHE-1049753); G.S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490); A.G.Marshall (NSF CHE-1016942; 101-19193); D.L. Valentine (NSF EAR-0950600; OCE-0961725); BP/The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to the Deep-C Consortium

Engineering Theranostic Nanovehicles to Target Cerebrovascular Amyloid
Targeted theranostic nanovehicles are capable of targeting cerebrovascular amyloid associated with Alzheimer’s Disease and serving as early diagnostic and therapeutic agents across multiple imaging modalities. Assessed in animal models at 21.1 T, these nanovehicles were loaded with gadolinium-based magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), iodine-based single photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) or fluorescent contrast agents as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-amyloidogenic pharmaceuticals to demonstrate targeted enhancement and treatment in cerebral amyloid angiopathy.

June Science Highlight - NMR Facility
Date: June 16, 2014
Research Area: Biology
Site / Program: NMR Facility
Instrument: 21.1 Tesla Magnet
Contact: Sam Grant
Grants: G.S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490); S.C. Grant (User Collaboration Grants Program & AHA 10GRNT3860040)

The Center for Integrating Research and Learning represents the MagLab at the USA Science and Engineering Festival
Staff from the Center for Integrating Research and Learning represented the MagLab in a booth at USA Science and Engineering Festival held in Washington DC held April 25-27. More than 1,500 visitors stopped by the booth over the three days.

June Science Highlight - The Center for Integrating Research and Learning
Date: June 16, 2014
Research Area: NA
Site / Program: CIRL
Instrument: NA
Contact: Roxanne Hughes
Grants: G.S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490)

Anomalous Translational Diffusion in Neural Tissue
A new non-Brownian model of anomalous translational diffusion in nervous tissue is introduced and applied to the brain. This model provides new fractional order parameters of diffusion, entropy, waiting time and jump length that represent unique markers of morphology in neural tissue.

May NSF Highlight - AMRIS Facility
Date: May 15, 2014
Research Area: Biology
Site / Program: AMRIS Facility
Instrument: 17.6 Tesla Magnet
Contact: Thomas Mareci
Grants: Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490); Magin (NIH R01 EB 007537); Mareci (R01 NR014181 & NS082386)

Magnetoplasmons in Quasi-neutral Epitaxial Graphene Nanoribbons
Utilizing the sensitivity of the NHMFL optics facility, a team of scientists from Georgia Tech, Sandia National Laboratories, Institut Néel, Université Paris-Sud and the NHMFL were able to observe collective oscillations of Dirac Fermions in graphene nanoribbons. The observed effect is tunable by varying the width of the graphene nanoribbons and the applied magnetic field. This observation raises the possibility of graphene based tunable THz devices.

May NSF Highlight - DC Field Facility
Date: May 15, 2014
Research Area: Graphene
Site / Program: DC Field Facility
Instrument: SCM 3
Contact: Dmitry Smirnov
Grants: G.S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490); Smirnov/Jiang (DOE DE-FG02-07ER46451 & NSF DMR-0820382)

Neutron Scattering at 25 Teslas: MagLab Completes Conical Bore Resistive Insert Coil for Series-Connected Hybrid Magnet
The MagLab has delivered the resistive insert coils for the 25-Tesla Series Connected Hybrid Magnet for the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin. This magnet system includes a unique conical warm bore with 30 degree opening angle and will be used for neutron-scattering experiments and an unprecedented 25T central field. This constitutes a 47% increase in magnetic field available for these experiments while also providing an increase in solid-angle.

April NSF Highlight - Magnet Technology
Date: April 8, 2014
Research Area: Magnet Technology
Site / Program: Resistive Magnet Shop & DC Field Facility
Instrument: 20T Large Bore Magnet
Contact: Jack Toth
Grants: M.D. Bird (German Government, NSF DMR-0603042); G.S.Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490)

High-Field EPR Studies of the Fine Structure Parameters of the Mn(II) Centers in Bacillus subtilis Oxalate Decarboxylase
Oxalate Decarboxylase (OxDC) is an enzyme that catalyzes the manganese-dependent breakdown of the oxalate monoanion into carbon dioxide and formate. EPR measurements performed at very high magnetic fields greatly simplify the task of assigning fine structure parameters to each of the Mn(II) centers in wild-type OxDC. The results provide new insights into the strengths and limitations of theoretical methods for understanding protein-bound Mn(II), setting the stage for future EPR studies of Mn(II) centers in OxDC.

April NSF Highlight - EMR
Date: April 8, 2014
Research Area: Chemistry
Site / Program: EMR Facility
Instrument: 17.5 Tesla Magnet
Contact: Andrew Ozarowski
Grants: G. S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490); A.A. (NSF CHE-1213440); U.R. (Swiss National Science Foundation); N.G.J.R. (NIH DK061666)

Giant Plasticity in the Quantum Solid, HCP4He
High precision NMR studies of dilute impurities in sold 4He have demonstrated the existence of an unexpected lattice relaxation at low temperatures (T<0.2K). This new effect is attributed to the quantum plasticity reported in studies of the elastic constants in the same temperature regime.

March NSF Highlight - HBT
Date: March 14, 2014
Research Area: Quantum Fluids and Solids
Site / Program: HBT Facility
Instrument: Bay 3, MicroKelvin Laboratory
Contact: Neil Sullivan
Grants: G.S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490); N. Sullivan (NSF-DMR-1303599 )

First High-Resolution Structures of Antimicrobial Peptides Piscidin 1 and Piscidin 3 in Fluid Bilayers Reveal Structural Features Important for Function
Structures of antimicrobial peptides piscidins 1 and 3 were solved in two bacterial cell mimics by oriented sample solid-state NMR. A significant finding of this work is that in contrast to the ideal structures shown in mechanistic studies of AMPs, the structures of both peptides are disrupted and kinked at a conserved central glycine, which results in stronger interactions with the lipid bilayers. The more pronounced imperfect amphipathicity of piscidin 1 over piscidin 3 that is revealed helps better understand why the former more effectively mixes the lipids as needed to induce the greatest damage to bacterial cells.

March NSF Highlight - NMR
Date: March 14, 2014
Research Area: Biochemistry
Site / Program: NMR Facility
Instrument: 600 and 900 MHz superconducting magnets
Contact: Tim Cross, Myriam Cotten
Grants: G.S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490); M.L. Cotten (NSF CHE-0832571)

Nucleotide-Induced Conformational Changes in Tetrameric GroEL Mapped by Hydrogen/Deuterium Exchange Monitored by Ultrahigh Resolution 14.5 T FT-ICR Mass Spectrometry
GroEL is a large (molecular weight ≈ 800,000) protein complex composed of two heptamers arranged like stacked doughnuts. By “spray-painting” the complex with heavy water, and then cutting into pieces with an enzyme and weighing the pieces, we are able to map the solvent accessibility throughout the complex, and observe conformational changes induced by binding of an analog of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), thereby illuminating the mechanism by which ATP activates the complex for its biological function.

February NSF Highlight - AMRIS
Date: February 10, 2014
Research Area: Biochemistry
Site / Program: FSU / ICR Facility
Instrument: 14.5 Tesla Magnet
Contact: Alan Marshall
Grants: G.S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490); Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan

Interplay between Frustration and Spin-Orbit Coupling in Vanadates
The high-magnetic field phase diagram to 65 Tesla of the MV2O4 family (M = Cd, Mg) reveals new multiferroic phase transitions that point to an unusual interplay between spin-orbit interactions and frustrated magnetism.

February NSF Highlight - Pulsed Field Facility
Date: February 10, 2014
Research Area: Magnetism and Magnetic Materials
Site / Program: LANL / Pulsed Field Facility
Instrument: 65 T Magnets
Contact: Vivien Zapf
Grants: G.S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490); LANL LDRD program

Dissolution DNP Polarizer for In Vivo 13C MRI.
The MagLab’s AMRIS facility has recently implemented dissolution DNP technology. The system utilizes a 5 T magnet in which samples are cooled to <1.1 K. With microwave irradiation, we achieve 70% polarization of 13C nuclei in the polarizer; this translates to a >14,000 gain in SNR on dissolution and injection into our 4.7T MRI/S scanner.

January NSF Highlight - AMRIS
Date: January 15, 2014
Research Area: Biochemistry
Site / Program: UF / AMRIS
Instrument: 4.7T and 11.1 T MRI/S systems
Contact: Joanna Long
Grants: G.S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490)

High Field Quantum Spin Hall State in Graphene
Using the high magnetic fields available at the NHMFL, users from MIT were able to observe a quantum spin hall (QSH) state in graphene. The QSH state results in two oppositely oriented spin currents flowing clockwise and counter clockwise around the edge of the graphene flake without dissipation effects. This discovery further advances the exciting work being done to bring about spin based electronics.

January NSF Highlight - DC Field
Date: January 15, 2014
Research Area: Graphene
Site / Program: FSU / DC Field Facility
Instrument: 45T Hybrid
Contact: Tim Murphy
Grants: RCA (US DOE, #FG02-08ER46514); PJH (US DOE #DE-SC0001819); AFY (Pappalardo Fellowship); G.S. Boebinger (NSF DMR-1157490)


More Publications Links

  • NSF Annual Highlights
    And end-of-year list compiled for NSF.
  • Scientific Journals
    A database of research by users and affiliated faculty, including recent unpublished research.
  • Research Reports
    A database of research by MagLab users and affiliated faculty, including the most recent research.
  • MagLab Publications
    Includes Flux, MagLab Reports, the Annual Report and other staff-produced publications.
  • User Reporting
    Instructions for MagLab users on how to report research results to the lab.

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