NHMFL User Services

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Users’ Committee Report
May 15-16, 1998

Chuck Agosta was elected as President and Jan Musfeldt as Secretary of the NHMFL Users Committee for the year 1998-9.


The Users Committee thanks the Laboratory management for the positive responses it has given to most of the points raised in the last Users Committee report.


MANAGEMENT - We congratulate the NHMFL at Los Alamos for hiring Greg Boebinger as its new Director, and we view the new management structure with which he will work as a major improvement for the services it can provide for users.

60 T LONG PULSE MAGNET - The Users Committee applauds the NHMFL for their vision and efforts in the design, fabrication, and commissioning of the 60 T quasi-continuous magnet. This facility is unique in the world and should open many new scientific opportunities. One aspect of this new facility that requires further attention is the switching noise/ripple in the magnetic field resulting from the design of the power supply. The Users Committee strongly urges the NHMFL to develop an optimal approach to address this issue and, if necessary, to seek supplemental support from the NSF to implement a solution to this issue.

In the near future, the NHMFL should circulate to users a description of this facility and a request for proposals to use it.

USER SUPPORT - We commend the NHMFL at Los Alamos for its efforts to improve the user support system and for appointing Alex Lacerda as the User Support Coordinator. We urge the LANL group to continue to improve user support until it comes up to or exceeds the standards achieved by the NHMFL at Tallahassee.


900 MHz NMR MAGNET - We concur with the current plans for completing this project. We hope that additional unique facilities will be developed which will compete favorably with other User Facilities such as PNNL.

EMR PROGRAM - The overview on this program showed excellent progress in the development of two new, truly unique high field EMR spectrometers and the accomplishment of significant new science with them. A multifrequency EMR spectrometer based on a 17 T superconducting magnet allows observation of g = 2 signals to 440 GHz. The committee supports the optimization of this spectrometer for higher sensitivity at 330 GHz. Over 10 publications including some submitted have already shown the new science that can be done with this spectrometer. Of particular significance is the observation of nominally "EPR-Silent" Mn(III) in porphyrins. A second spectrometer based on the 25 T Keck magnet allows observation of g = 2 signals at 700 GHz. This spectrometer has been involved in experiments with four outside user groups at this early stage of its development. Overall, 33 different outside users have been involved in the EMR program with many repeat users. This successful program needs to develop long term external support. They are encouraged to actively continue their efforts toward this.

POWER SUPPLY VERSATILITY - It has been suggested that the bussbar system feeding the magnet cells at Tallahassee could be upgraded for a reasonable cost. This upgrade would allow any cell to be connected to any power supply, significantly increasing the scheduling options for the resistive magnets. Considering that new magnets are coming on line that take more than two power supplies (the hybrid and Keck magnets) this versatility would increase the chances that users could get the time they needed on particular magnets, and allow users with working experiments to use down time from disabled experiments more effectively.

USER SUPPORT OUTSIDE OF NORMAL WORKING HOURS - Many external users set up and carry out their experiments outside of normal working hours. At these times, access to parts and/or technical expertise are frequently not. We strongly advocate that at least one technically competent person be available at the lab during all the times that users are likely to need their assistance; i.e., during evening shift runs and during the day on weekends and holidays. Perhaps such services could be scheduled on a rotating basis with compensating time off during normal working hours.


In response to the pressing need to develop an active user community within the chemistry and biology communities, the Users Committee discussed at length several issues associated with its structure and function. It is our judgment that the Committee will be most effective if it is not divided into two parts. Instead, adequate representation for these fields should be developed along the following lines:

  1. Since there are currently six openings to be filled on the Committee, we recommend that for the time being its size be kept at the current level of 12 members.
  2. Allocate 8 of the positions to represent primarily physics, materials, and technology.
  3. Allocate 4 of the positions to represent primarily chemistry and biology. Initially, they would be appointed for 2-3 years with the goal of developing a larger participating user community in these areas. As this user community expands, the choice of these four members should evolve from appointment to election by the user community. This arrangement should be subject to periodic review.
  4. When it sees the need to do so at its periodic meetings, the Users Committee can spend part of its time meeting in separate subgroups to discuss issues related to a particular part of the user community, with overall Committee review of actions to be taken on the basis of such separate deliberations.


Schedule for the fall 1998 meeting--The next meeting is scheduled for October 23, 1998 at Tallahassee. It coincides with the end of the Megagauss VIII Conference and the beginning of PPHMF-III. The following meeting (May, 1999) is planned to be held at Gainesville.

Preparation for meetings - In order to make the best use of its time and to be better prepared in advance of its meetings, the Users Committee repeats its request from its last report that the materials presented to it by the laboratory personnel be sent to the Committee members at least one week in advance of its meetings.

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