Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists Achieve Highest-Resolution MRI of A Magnet

12.08.2010
In a development that holds potential for both data storage and biomedical imaging, Ohio State University researchers have used a new technique to obtain the highest-ever resolution MRI scan of the inside of a magnet.

Chris Hammel, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Experimental Physics, and his colleagues took a tiny magnetic disk -- measuring only 2 micrometers (millionths of a meter) across and 40 nanometers (billionths of a meter) thick – and were able to obtain magnetic resonance images its interior.

The resulting image -- with each “pixel” one tenth the size of the disk itself -- is the highest-resolution image ever taken of the magnetic fields and interactions inside of a magnet.

Why look inside magnets? Because studying the material’s behavior at these tiny scales is key to incorporating them into computer chips and other electronic devices.

The researchers report their findings in the August 12 issue of the journal Nature.

In 2008, Hammel’s team debuted a new kind of high-resolution scanning system that combines three different kinds of technology: MRI, ferromagnetic resonance, and atomic force microscopy.

Ferromagnets -- the type of magnet used in this study -- are magnets made of ferrous metal such as iron. Common household refrigerator magnets are ferromagnets.

Because ferromagnets retain a particular polarization once magnetized, they are already essential components in today’s computers and other electronics, where they provide data storage alongside computer chips. But smaller magnets built directly into a computer chip could do even more, Hammel explained.

“We know that shrinking these magnets to the nanoscale and building them directly inside electronics would enable these devices to do more, and with less power consumption,” Hammel said. “But a key barrier has always been the difficulty of imaging and characterizing nanomagnets.”

Typical MRI machines work by inducing a magnetic field inside non-magnetic objects, such as the body. Since ferromagnets are already magnetic, conventional MRI can’t see inside them.

The combination technique that the Ohio State researchers invented is called “scanned probe ferromagnetic resonance imaging,” or scanned probe FMRI, and it involves detecting a magnetic signal using a tiny silicon bar with an even tinier magnetic probe on its tip.

In Nature, they report a successful demonstration of the technique, as they imaged the inside of the magnetic disk 0.2 micrometers (200 nanometers) at a time. They used a thin film of a commercially available nickel-iron magnetic alloy called Permalloy for the disk.

“In essence, we were able to conduct ferromagnetic resonance measurements on a small fraction of the disk, then move our probe over a little bit and do magnetic resonance there, and so on,” explained Denis Pelekhov, director of the ENCOMM NanoSystems Laboratory at Ohio State. “Using these results, we could see how the magnetic properties vary inside the disk.”

Experts suspect that computer chips equipped with tiny magnets might one day provide high-density data storage. Computers with magnets in their central processing units (CPUs) would never have to boot up. The entire computer would be contained inside the CPU, making such devices even smaller and less power-hungry as well.

Hammel believes that the technique could one day be useful tool in biomedical research labs. Researchers could use it to study tissue samples of the plaques that form in brain tissues and arteries, and perhaps develop better ways of detecting them in the body. Knowing how these plaques form could advance studies of many diseases, including Alzheimer's and atherosclerosis.

Hammel and Pelekhov’s co-authors on the paper include Inhee Lee, Yuri Obukhov, Gang Xiang,, Adam Hauser, Fengyuan Yang, and Palash Banerjee, all of the Department of Physics at Ohio State.

This research was funded by the Department of Energy.

Chris Hammel | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.osu.edu

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht PET identifies which prostate cancer patients can benefit from salvage radiation treatment
05.12.2017 | Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

nachricht Designing a golden nanopill
01.12.2017 | University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>