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14 december 2018

Approved FOM programme

Number 132.
Title High Field Magnet Laboratory: a global player in science in high magnetic fields (FOM-HFML)
Executive organisational unit BUW
Programme management Prof.dr.ir. N.E. Hussey
Duration 2011-2021
Cost estimate M€ 33.4

It is the ambition of RU and FOM that the HFML becomes an important global player with a strong and high impact scientific reputation and plays a leading role in the European Magnetic Field Laboratory..

Background, relevance and implementation
The mission of the High Field Magnet Laboratory in Nijmegen is to use and develop high magnetic fields, to carry out pioneering research by both in-house and external users. The scientific motivation to use high magnetic fields in experiments and to invest in their gene­ration is that new discoveries are very often done at the highest available magnetic fields because under these conditions new phenomena are most clearly visible.

The HFML-installation (representing a M€  23 investment in infrastructure and a M€  12 invest­ment in a new 45T hybrid magnet in the process of realization) is one of only three in the world where such high continuous magnetic fields can be made and it functions successfully as a large research infrastructure on an international scale (a fourth has just been constructed in Hefei, China).  

The HFML has played a leading role in unifying the European activities by bringing Dresden, Toulouse, Grenoble and the HFML together in order to form a European Magnetic Field Laboratory (EMFL). The EMFL initiative was included in European Strategic Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI 2008) list and the HFML is placed on the National Roadmap large research infrastructures. Therefore the laboratory through its central place in the EMFL under formation, may realize a large research infrastructure on Dutch soil. 

This ambition is realistic since the HFML has a strong scientific reputation in research in high magnetic fields and a prominent position within the leading international high magnetic field community. The HFML has an excellent installation, reasonably good experimental infrastruc­ture, is well embedded in the RU, IMM and the Dutch research environment. The HFML has the most ambitious ongoing investment programme, having recently constructed the world's strongest Bitter magnet (37.5 T), the 45T hybrid still under construction and a free electron laser FLARE with characteristics that match all relevant magnetic resonances up to 45T con­nected to the HFML and already taking data.

To realise this ambition it is necessary to develop the HFML to its full potential, i.e. by an increase of the in-house groups (strongly correlated electron systems, semiconductors & nano­structures, soft condensed matter & nanomaterials and magnet technology) with scientific and technical staff and of the exploitation budget to make full time operation possible and to be able to cover the most relevant research areas in a scientifically appealing way.

In August 2011 FOM and RU agreed to act together to realise this ambition. The necessary exploitation budget increase for this was M€ 3.5 per year for full operation (above the existing exploitation budget of M€ 3 per year). As a first step the RU contributed M€ 4 (M€ 0.4 per year) extra and FOM M€ 7.5 (in a flexible funding scheme) through this FOM programme. Parallel to the implementation of these first steps, further funding to achieve full exploitation was sought.

In March 2012, NWO recognized HFML as a national top research facility and granted M€ 11.

In July 2014, NWO granted a further M€ 14,851 for the HFML roadmap proposal to realize a number of unique magnetic and measurement environments and to grow the laboratory closer to full operational capacity.

The HFML (including this programme) will be evaluated every five years by an international committee. The final evaluation of this programme will consist of a self-evaluation initiated by the programme leader and is foreseen for 2022.

Please find a research highlight that was achieved in 2014 within this FOM programme here