The LANL magnets can evaluate the properties of a variety of materials ranging from metals to insulators to superconductors to ceramics to polymers and even radioactive materials. Much of the current research at the lab focuses on high-temperature superconductors.
Detecting these oscillations isn’t easy. It requires a very pure sample, a very low temperature, and a very powerful magnet. All three were problematic with the high-temperature superconductors; as the process used to make the materials tends to disorder crystal patterns and introduce impurities, the materials begin to form superconducting bonds as the temperature drops, which results in the breaking of the Fermi surface, and most magnetic fields were not strong enough. The scientists eventually discovered how to create better samples and the 100 tesla magnet is strong enough to keep the materials from becoming superconducting and to generate strong enough oscillations for measurement. Researchers are now delving deeper into how the Fermi surface evolves as the specific components of the high-temperature superconductors are changed.