U.S. Magnet Laboratory and Korea Basic Science Institute partner to advance technology

The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University has extended its international interactions to include Korea. The Korea Basic Science Institute, located in Daejeon, South Korea, and the NHMFL opened the doors to the KBSI-NHMFL Research Collaboration Center during a ceremony at the NHMFL in Tallahassee. The new Center will promote basic scientific research, create knowledge and new opportunities for revolutionary technologies, and undertake development of new magnet systems for chemistry, biology, and other fields of science and engineering.

The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory–the only laboratory of its kind in the western hemisphere–has also developed strong interactions with major magnet-related research facilities in Japan, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Russia, and elsewhere.

The Korean delegation included Sang Dai Park, chairman of the Korea Research Council of Fundamental Science and Technology that provides funding to the KBSI; Jung Soon Lee, president of KBSI; Jong Shin Yoo, vice president of KBSI; and Yoo-Seung Kim, president of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology. Kirby Kemper, president of the FSU Research Foundation and vice president for research, and Greg Boebinger, director of the NHMFL, led the FSU-NHMFL delegation.

According to Boebinger, "The opening of the KBSI-NHMFL Research Collaboration Center expands and formalizes previous collaborative efforts between the NHMFL Ion Cyclotron Resonance Program and KBSI. It also demonstrates our mutual commitment to future scientific and engineering collaborations."

KBSI President Lee added, "The KBSI has a long-term goal of establishing several user facilities for research in high magnetic fields, and the globally recognized credentials of the NHMFL, the premier magnet laboratory in the world, will ensure that the development of these facilities at the cutting edge of modern science will be successful." In return, the KBSI will provide supplemental funding to the NHMFL, which will strengthen its magnet design and engineering team and allow wider flexibility in pursuing more risky, but potentially higher payoff technologies. The KBSI-NHMFL Research Collaboration Center will be co-located with the NHMFL Magnet Science & Technology Program, and engineers and technologists from both groups will work closely with scientists in other programs at the laboratory toward common goals.

The first major initiative, already underway, is for a next-generation 21 tesla ICR superconducting magnet system that would provide a 45 percent increase in magnetic field over the current world-record 14.5 tesla Fourier transform ICR instrument at the NHMFL. ICR mass spectrometry is an extremely useful tool for analyzing complex chemical mixtures, such as crude oil, and molecular structures, such as proteins. The KBSI-NHMFL collaboration on the 21 tesla ICR magnet system includes both engineering design and construction phases, and its total cost is estimated to be approximately $10 million. The first system will be located at the NHMFL; the KBSI will get the second.

Future projects include the development of an unprecedented 1.1 to 1.3 GHz (approximately 25 to 30 tesla) Nuclear Magnetic Resonance superconducting magnet system. This effort, along with the 21 tesla ICR project, will build on the NHMFL’s successful development, construction and operation of its 900 MHz (21.1 tesla) ultra-wide bore, NMR spectrometer completed in July 2004. This very complex research facility for NMR and MRI is an engineering feat: it stands 16 feet tall, weighs over 30,000 pounds, and has a stored energy of 40 megajoules. After seven months of operation, it continues to perform exceptionally well and is supporting a wide range of novel biological and chemical research projects.

The Korea Basic Science Institute (KBSI) was established in August 1988 as the first center to house various user facilities to help researchers across the nation carry out basic research. By operating most advanced state-of-the-art research equipment and facilities that are typically too expensive for universities or institutes to acquire individually, the facilities are utilized efficiently. One of the main functions and purposes is to collect and disseminate information on scientific resources and research equipment. Joint collaborative research is conducted at the Daedeok headquarters and six regional branches.

The NHMFL provides the world’s highest and most reliable magnetic fields to U.S. and international scientists and engineers. In 2004, nearly 900 researchers (including over 200 scientists from outside the United States, who bypassed closer laboratories) used NHMFL facilities to advance their scientific efforts. The KBSI-NHMFL Research Collaboration Center aims to push the development of new magnet-related technologies, build new state-of-the-art research facilities, and offer users expanded capabilities and science opportunities.