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Minutes of the 12/93 NHMFL Users' Committee Meeting

A meeting of the NHMFL Users' Committee was held on Sunday, December 12 and Monday, December 13, 1993 at the NHMFL Florida State University site. Those in attendance were the elected members of the committee (save for one), Dr. Bruce Brandt, Director of Instrumentation and Operations, Dr. Larry Campbell, Director of the Pulsed Magnet Facility, and at times, several members of the NHMFL User Services corps.

The committee members are :
€David Awschalom, UCSB
€Greg Boebinger, AT&T
€James Brooks, BU (absent)
€Eric Jones, Sandia
€Martin Maley, LANL
€Bruce McCombe, Buffalo
€Michael Naughton, Buffalo
€Horst Stormer, AT&T
€Stan Tozer, NHMFL

The Committee members were provided with overview material relating to the Operations and instrumentation facilities, lists of users of the 20-T superconducting magnets, past and near future, details of magnets on hand and planned, and drawings of the 45-T hybrid installation. Following is a summary report and minutes of this meeting.

There was general consensus concerning the following points which, the Users' Committee wishes to stress, are the most consequential to the future success of the NHMFL as a user facility:

  1. We strongly urge the laboratory to focus on the development of a standard high-field magnet as a "workhorse". Apart from the already existing 20T magnets, we propose that the 12 MW, 27T magnet should fulfill this role. It would represent a considerable advance over the existing 23T fields presently available, and appears to be a "conservative" design with the promise of longevity. Once demonstrated to function, several such 27T magnets (at least 3) should become the heart of the near-term user facility. Design and experimentation with the much-higher-risk 15MW, 30T magnet could progress in parallel with the 27T construction and, if successful, could replace the 27T as a standard at any time. However, having several medium-risk, high-field 27T magnets is, in the view of the committee, the most promising path to a fast and efficient operation of the user facility

  2. Regarding future personnel positions associated with the NHMFL, we wish to emphasize the importance of creating and filling new faculty positions in high magnetic field research at the University of Florida, Florida State University, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, including the 12 month Senior Scientist positions. The very best scientists should be sought for these positions, for in the end, it is the individuals that stake their reputations on the success of the Laboratory who most ensure its continued prosperity.

  3. We recognize and strongly urge the rectification of the fact that the NHMFL at LANL is in an understaffed support situation. We therefore recommend that a permanent "Scholar Scientist" or equivalent position be created, devoted to the operation of the pulsed field facility. In addition, some arrangement should be made to provide graduate student research assistant help with this vital aspect of NHMFL facilities.

  4. The Committee wishes to stress the importance of developing magneto-optics capabilities for pulsed magnetic fields. The Laboratory should solicit input from knowedgeable people in the field, and get the word out that such a facility is desirable and possible. An appropriate time and setting for gathering such input would be the Workshop on Magneto-Optics after the Intermag Conference in ??? .

Other items discussed at length are summarized below.

(1) Election of Officers

After discussing organization and tenure options for the Users' Committee, it was agreed that :

Certain one-time exceptions to the above adoptions are required for the inaugural Committee. Elections for the first set of officers were undertaken at this December 1993 meeting. Eric Jones was elected Chair, Horst Stormer, Chair-elect, and Michael Naughton, Recording Secretary. It was agreed that the best way to arrange the timing of future elections, etc., would be to have these three officers serve until just before the May, 1995 Users' Committee Meeting. This decision precluded the three one-year term members of the present Committee from being eligible for officers roles.

(2) Statement of Purpose

A short document defining the purpose and goals of the Users' Committee was drafted:

Users' Committee National High Magnetic Field Laboratory

The Users' Committee for the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory is an elected council whose purpose is twofold: to represent the interests of the high magnetic field user community as a whole, and to advise the Directorate of the NHMFL on matters and policies affecting the operation of the Laboratory. These general functions will be performed through the following specific actions:

(3) Open Users Meeting for NHMFL

There is now scheduled a meeting open to all past, present, and future users of high magnetic fields. It will coincide with the annual APS March Meeting. The first such meeting will be held on Sunday, March 20, 1994 in Pittsburgh. The format was not finalized at this Users Committee meeting, but a few scenarios were discussed: have a small number of short talks (~4) given by invited users in the field, have J. Crow and/or B. Brandt, and L. Campbell provide overviews of the state of the Laboratory, or have NHMFL post-docs present a experimental facilities reports. An announcement relating to this meeting should appear in the February, 1994 APS News.


A report on activities at the pulsed field facility at Los Alamos was presented by Associate Director Larry Campbell. More than a dozen institutions have utilized the LANL facilities so far. A timeline for various equipment acquisitions was given, such as dilution refrigerators for the 20T superconductor (1/94) and the pulsed magnets (4/94). Pulsed field facility upgrade options for NSF renewal were discussed, with advice and opinions given by Committee members on the most prudent path(s). In order of importance for future emphasis, the Committee recommended the following rank:
(1) a 100-T generator-capacitor hybrid,
(2) a 65-T quasi-continuous field upgrade (motor generator), and, tentatively,
(3) a 75-T quasi- continuous magnet of a new design.

Cost estimates for the three projects were given.
The possibility of hosting a "100 Tesla Workshop" around the March Meeting was proposed, with input solicited by Larry. Tentative dates were discussed. Initial dates were just after the March Meeting, which received little enthusiasm. Alternate dates suggested were the weekend before the March Meeting, which may conflict with the tutorials. Another possibility is to postpone the workshop until May, 1994, close to the May Users' Committee meeting.

(5) Laboratory Space / Cells at NHMFL@FSU

The experimental floor space design around the magnets remains unsatisfactory. During the construction phase, the users had already requested a stable second floor at the height of the top of the magnets as an alternate experimental platform. This second floor was expected to connect between all cells, (except hybrid cells) for easy access for instrumentation, helium dewars, etc. via a centralized elevator. We have been informed that these plans were abandoned due to lack of funds. The Users' Committee continues to regard an upper platform as essential for many experiments. It proposes now the construction of a U-shaped elevated platform in each cell, with a shared elevator which can be moved to each of the cells when required. One or several overhead cranes which can access all cells is very desirable. Certain details should be coordinated with the local construction managers on site, to avoid conflicts or redundancy.

(6) Scheduling of Magnet Time

The issue of scheduling the DC magnets at FSU will prove to be critical to users of the Laboratory. It was suggested by Bruce Brandt that the proposed hours of operation would be something like 7 am to 10:30 pm, or 15 hours per day. The Committee posed several questions to Bruce. Will it be possible to run overnight, even only occasionally as determined by the urgency and importance of the experiment? While recognizing the potential difficulties with this mode of operation, we beseech the Laboratory to keep this option open and viable. We must keep the Laboratory flexible, and find the best way to do so. In this regard, the Committee would like to know if (and how well) an automatic control system would work.
The Committee did not directly address the scheduling of the 20T superconductor staging magnet or the pulsed magnets at LANL. It is expected that this can be dealt with, if required, at future meetings.

(7) Housing

The issue of housing for short and intermediate term users was discussed. This has historically been a nagging problem at the Francis Bitter lab, partly because of proximity and partly cost. There appears to be a finite possibility of a "lab habitat" on the grounds of the facility, although we won't count on this for at least a few years. Presently, B.B. tells us that the Lab has an arrangement with a local motel. As I recall, this still requires the use of a car. Perhaps a room or two within the laboratory could be designated as quiet chambers, with a cot and linen service, for cat naps during (typical) experimental runs.

(8) Library

It was suggested that the space for the Lab library looks rather small, and not secluded enough. Will the users, through their Committee, have any say as to what journals will be purchased? There should also be terminals, etc. included.

(9) Split-Coil Magnet

A growing number of users are requesting high angular resolution in high magnetic fields. The most accurate method is in a horizontal Helmholtz magnet. This does not appear to rank very highly in the future plans of the Laboratory, to the dismay of several Committee members. It was proffered that, in addition to the in situ rotation capabilities being pursued for traditional vertical-field solenoids, a sufficiently large field split coil be developed (e.g., 20T). We suggest that further discussion of this issue be undertaken to assess the utility of such a facility.

(10) NHMFL Newsletter

We suggest that the NHMFL Newsletter be published biannually, and include such items as an interview with a user, truncated minutes of the Users' Committee meetings, who has been running experiments and who is upcoming, a photograph of the Users' Committee so that other users and potential users might recognize them at scientific gatherings and approach them about the Lab.

(11) Other Items Discussed, Observations Made, and Questions Raised

Prepared by M.J. Naughton, 10 January, 1994.

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