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U now home to the world's largest imaging magnet

Center for Magnetic Resonance Research director
Kamil Ugurbil, Ph.D., and his team are known for
pushing the limits of imaging technology. (Photo: Jack McTigue)

After a monthlong journey by boat from England, across the Atlantic, and through the Great Lakes, the world’s largest imaging magnet made its way from Duluth, Minnesota, to its new home at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, arriving on December 6.

The 110-ton Agilent Technologies magnet is the world’s first 10.5 Tesla, whole-body human magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) magnet. (In comparison, most medical MRIs utilize 1.5-3 Tesla magnets.) Tesla is a unit of measurement that describes the strength of a magnetic field.

Eventually, the University’s new magnet will be used for brain research and human body imaging. But because a magnet of this strength has never been used to map the human brain or body, for the first five to 10 years it’s at the University, scientists will be developing and fine-tuning the technology that will allow the machine to create useful images.

The magnet was made possible by an $8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

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