Fujikura Ltd. and Bruker Corporation, who have been entertaining business relations in the field of superconductor technology for approximately one decade, today announce that a major milestone has been reached in their long-standing collaboration: A high-resolution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) magnet with a field strength of 28.2 T, whose high-field core was built uniquely from high-temperature superconducting materials which were developed and manufactured by Fujikura, has been successfully energized. A field of 28.2 T corresponds to a 1H resonance frequency of 1.2 GHz, which constitutes the current world record in high-resolution NMR.
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) is a wide-spread analytical technique which is used in a vast number of applications, including structure elucidation in chemistry, quality control, material science, and structural biology. In NMR, the samples to be investigated are placed in strong magnetic fields. Higher magnetic fields lead to higher resolution and higher signal-to-noise ratios in the NMR measurement, which is why very strong superconducting magnets are often used. Up until recently, only low-temperature superconducting materials were available for the commercial construction of such magnets, most notably Niobium-Titanium (NbTi) and Niobium-Tin (Nb3Sn). With such materials, due to their intrinsic properties, magnetic fields in excess of approximately ~ 23.5 T (which corresponds to a 1H resonance frequency of ~ 1.0 GHz) cannot be achieved. High-temperature superconductors, such as the Rare-Earth Barium Copper Oxide conductors manufactured by Fujikura, help to break that barrier and have recently made the successful construction of 1.1 and 1.2 GHz NMR spectrometers possible.
Bruker is the world’s leading supplier of NMR spectrometers, and has been historically pioneering the field of Ultra-High Field (UHF) NMR. Rainer Kümmerle, who is leading Bruker’s NMR applications team, explains that “UHF NMR is a tremendously exciting field, with great benefits to society. Just to name a few examples, our customers currently use NMR to determine RNA and protein structures of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and to investigate the drugability of those structures by small molecules. In addition, our UHF NMR spectrometers are used to perform important and ground-breaking research on the structures and function of proteins linked to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases, as well as in cancer research. We are very proud that our continued investment in HTS magnet technology R&D finally paid off, so that we were recently able to provide the first record-breaking NMR spectrometers above 1.0 GHz to the NMR community.”
Fujikura is a named technology firm that has historically produced high technology products for a range of industries such electric power transmission and telecommunications. Many of these products need to be produced to a high quality over very long lengths which is also a requirement for many superconductor applications.
Fujikura’s extensive knowledge in manufacturing has enabled Fujikura to develop and optimize the manufacturing processes to commercially produce “Rare-earth-based 2nd Generation High-Temperature Superconducting tapes” (2G HTS). Fujikura developed the key manufacturing processes 20 years ago and have maintained a world leading position in this field. Fujikura produce the highest quality 2G-HTS tape with consistent quality enabling Fujikura’s customers break new ground in research and commercial applications.
Fujikura developed several unique manufacturing processes including “Ion beam assisted deposition” (IBAD) which enables fabrication of a high-textured buffer layer. This process has become the industry standard. Fujikura’s experience in these processes has enabled Fujikura to produce HTS tapes with very high critical currents over very long lengths with extremely high uniformity. Fujikura works closely with customers to meet the specific demands of each application.
“The quality of Fujikura’s HTS tapes is impeccable and of very high quality. We are tremendously impressed with Fujikura’s process stability and the resulting reliability. Bruker works with several manufacturers of HTS materials, both internal and external, which is why we are in an ideal position to draw a comparison. For us, without a doubt, Fujikura rank among the top HTS manufacturers in the world. We commend Fujikura on their impressive achievements“, comments Patrick Wikus, who manages Bruker’s 1.2 GHz NMR program.
There are a vast range of potential applications for “2G HTS tapes”. Applications include efficient motors for power generation, particle accelerators, research magnets, fusion and particle detection in space. Bruker’s UHF NMR is an incredible achievement and is one of the first large scale commercial successes for this technology. Fujikura is delighted develop technologies that not only improve the quality of human life but also has great potential for industrial innovation and saving natural resources in the coming future.
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