The High Field Magnet may look like an oversized washing machine, but it really will be more like a carefully trained sheepdog — herding not bleating ruminants, but assemblies of interacting particles for the condensed matter physicists eagerly awaiting its arrival.
The magnet is a complex assembly itself (don’t be fooled by those simple graphics!) There are 210 kilometers(!) of custom-made superconducting wire and years of R&D inside. It needs 4 Megawatt to run and will provide 25 Tesla, the strongest magnetic field in the world available for neutron scattering.
But: The enormous energies generate enormous amounts of heat. At the same time, the superconductor requires extreme cold. All this inside the all of a sudden no longer that oversized washing machine …
The magnet already has come a long way. From Tallahassee, Florida, where the core was designed and built at the famous MagLab, via Italy, where our colleagues at Criotec produced not only the superconducting conduit, but also the cryostat without which the entire setup would be impossible, always in close collaboration with the HZB-team.
With every step of the way, problems were solved and often bold ideas materialized. At the same time, with every step, the risks get higher. With every step, every mistake gets more costly, both, financially and with regard to the entire project timeline. At no point we can simply go back and try again. This machine is unique. If we break it, we’re done.