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Opportunities in High Magnetic Field Science
important insights in a host of areas, ranging from brain function to high-temperature superconductivity. High magnetic fields are of great interest in areas such as astrophysics and magnetohydrodynamics, and high-field magnets also play an increasingly important role in industry.
The committee’s task was to identify key scientific and technological challenges and opportunities, not to make specific programmatic recommendations. In general, the committee found that high magnetic field science in the United States is healthy and broadly multidisciplinary. However, there are some important opportunities that will be missed unless attention is paid to them soon.
Conclusion.High magnetic field science and technology are thriving in the United States today, and the prospects are bright for future gains from high-field research.
Recent accomplishments include the development of functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is revolutionizing neuroscience; optically pumped magnetic resonance techniques, which allow visualization of new quantum phenomena in semiconductors; and ion cyclotron resonance mass spectroscopy, which is becoming an important tool for exploring the chemical composition of complex systems. High-field research has led to the discovery of new states of matter in low-dimensional systems. It has also provided the first indications of how high-temperature superconductors evolve into unconventional metallic alloys in the extreme quantum limit. Outstanding work continues to be done in the area of magnet engineering, the discipline on which all these activities depend. There is every reason to believe that there will be new accomplishments as interesting as those mentioned above in the decades to come, especially if magnets are built that deliver higher fields than those available today. For instance, pulsed fields offer the opportunity to explore the highest magnetic fields in ways that can take research in new directions. Additionally, advances in high-speed electronics, instrumentation, and miniaturization could also allow greater experimental access to higher fields.
Conclusion.The United States is a leader in many areas of high-field science and technology, but further investment will be required to make it competitive in some critical areas.
There are many indicators of the strength of the U.S. effort in high magnetic field research. For example, condensed-matter physicists and materials researchers from other parts of the world routinely travel to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL) to perform experiments that they are unable to do at home,