Large Magnet Moves in to Bldg. 50
By Rich McManus
Photos by Bill Branson
The soon-to-open Louis Stokes Laboratories, otherwise known as Bldg. 50, received one of its first tenants Mar. 1 when a huge magnet used in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy was moved out of its temporary home in Bldg. 13, where it had spent the past 2 years, and was lowered literally "down the hatch" into a special NMR suite in the basement of Bldg. 50.
The powerful, sensitive instruments are expensive to move some $300,000 is budgeted to truck the seven on-campus magnets to their new home in 50. Three of the smaller magnets are now in Bldg. 3, and will migrate to 50 by summertime.
The behemoth moved on Mar. 1 is shared by the heart institute and NIDDK scientists Angela Gronenborn, Marius Clore and Ad Bax, who is chief of the section on biophysical NMR.
Before moving the magnet, scientists had to de-energize it and let it warm up to room temperature during a 2-week period. During operation, the magnet is cooled to 2 degrees Kelvin by pumped liquid helium. At full power, the magnet "has a stored energy comparable to a 15-ton truck barreling down the highway at 70 mph," Bax said.
Bax, whose office is across the street from Bldg. 50 in Bldg. 5, said he can "hop over there easily when I need to" to adjust the instrument.
While the 800 MHz magnet was in residence in Bldg. 13, it was not idly waiting for completion of Bldg. 50's sophisticated NMR suite. It was plugged in and working. "It has been extremely useful to us," noted Bax.
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