New material boosts magnets for free-electron lasers

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Three US national laboratories have joined to create a half-meter-long prototype ‘undulator’ magnet using Niobium-3-tin. Undulators are used in free-electron lasers – lasers that create electromagnetic beams for research. Niobium-tin alloy is seen as an alternative to the incumbent niobium-titanium alloy. Niobium-titanium superconductors are good for lower magnetic fields, but stop superconducting at around 10 teslas, according …

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