When magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners reach the end of their lifetime, hospitals have to deal with a large piece of electronic waste, stuffed with potentially dangerous parts. Unless a physics lab can make use of them.

In the photo above you can see an old MRI magnet, one of the most valuable part of a discarded medical device. But this one won’t end up in a landfill, but find a new home in instruments used in high-energy and nuclear physics experiments. Argonne National Laboratory explains what will happen:

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy‚Äôs (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory recently acquired two decommissioned magnets from (MRI) scanners from hospitals in Minnesota and California. The two new magnets have a strength of 4 Tesla, not as strong as the newest generation of MRI magnets but ideal for benchmarking experiments that test instruments for the g minus 2 (‚Äúg-2‚ÄĚ) muon experiment currently being assembled at the DOE‚Äôs Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. The Muon g-2 experiment will use Fermilab‚Äôs powerful accelerators to explore the interactions of muons, which are short-lived particles, with a strong magnetic field in ‚Äúempty‚ÄĚ space.


[Mark Lopez/Argonne National Laboratory]