The High Field Magnet Laboratory (HFML) and the Free Electron Lasers for Infrared eXperiments (FELIX) laboratory have come together to form a world-unique large-scale research infrastructure, jointly run by Radboud University (RU) in Nijmegen and the institutes organisation of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO-I). It enables molecules and materials to be taken to the extremes of modern-day technology both in terms of static magnetic field strength and radiation intensity in the infrared and terahertz (THz) range of the electromagnetic spectrum.
HFML-FELIX operates 5 resistive electromagnets powered by a 22 MW power supply and cooled by a system with 3 large cold water buffers, 4 cooling towers and 3 chillers. The suite of magnets consists of two 38 T magnets, two 33 T magnets, all with 32 mm room temperature bore, and one wide-bore (50 mm) 30 T magnet. A 45 T Hybrid magnet and a dedicated levitation magnet, with a world-record gradient field, are under development.
The laboratory offers a suite of 4 free electron lasers (FELs) providing high-intensity, widely tuneable and ultra-short pulse radiation in the infrared and THz spectral range; in total they cover a wavelength range from 3 to 1500 μm (0.2 – 100 THz) which is unparalleled in a single facility. Pulse duration and pulse energy vary with wavelength but range typically between 1-50 ps and 5-50 μJ. FELICE, the free electron laser for intra-cavity experiments, is currently the only one of its kind in the world and provides a factor of 50-100 times higher intensity at the point of the experiment, truly driving the sample environment to the extremes of intensity. The installation of new features for the FELs is in progress, such as an extension of the frequency coverage and flexibility of the repetition and pulsing schemes.
HFML-FELIX is the only facility worldwide that couples static high magnetic fields to infrared/THz free electron lasers. FEL radiation over the entire frequency range from 3 - 1500 micron is transported to a 33 T magnet through a 90 m long optical beam-line and soon this beam-line will be extended to connect also to the 38 T magnets and the 45 T hybrid magnet site.
The region of the electromagnetic spectrum offered by HFML-FELIX is a frontier area for research in physics, chemistry, biology, materials science and medicine. Infrared/THz radiation is uniquely suited for studying and controlling systems such as molecules, clusters and complexes, but also electrons in metals and semiconductors, as well as the collective modes of biologically important proteins. The versatility and universality of magnetic fields as a research tool lies in their coupling to the charge and spin of electrons that essentially constitute all matter. This coupling can induce magnetic, electronic, and even structural phase transitions in hard condensed matter systems, while its effects on soft matter are similarly profound. The use of high magnetic fields and accelerator-based photon sources has been essential for many pioneering discoveries that have led, among other things, to a number of Nobel prizes in physics, chemistry and medicine, amongst which the 2010 Nobel prize in physics for the discovery of graphene to which measurements at HFML contributed significantly.
At HFML-FELIX, investigations can be performed covering a broad spectrum of physical, chemical and biological phenomena, and, indeed, researchers come from the Netherlands, Europe and oversea to perform experiments in Nijmegen and to probe, control and manipulate essentially all states of matter, in the solid, liquid and gaseous phase. The in-house science programme of HFML-FELIX is organized around the research topics of molecular structure and (bio)complexity, chemical reactivity, control of molecular matter, magnetism, 2D materials and emergence & exotic order.