Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Miniaturizable magnetic resonance

13.11.2015

Microscopic gem the key to new development in magnetic lab-on-a-chip technology

A garnet crystal only one micrometre in diameter was instrumental in a University of Alberta team of physicists creating a route to "lab-on-a-chip" technology for magnetic resonance, a tool to simplify advanced magnetic analysis for device development and interdisciplinary science.


A microscopic garnet crystal was the key to unlocking the torque-mixing magnetic resonance spectroscopy technique. A focused gallium ion beam sculpted the single-crystal, one micrometer diameter yttrium iron garnet disk from within a much larger starting piece of the magnetic gemstone. The image is an angled-perspective scanning electron micrograph, showing the microdisk before it was placed on the nanomechanical sensor with which precise mechanical torque signatures of magnetic resonance were observed.

Image credit: D. Vick and F. Fani Sani (National Institute for Nanotechnology, University of Alberta)

"To most, a gem so tiny would be worthless, but to us, it's priceless," says Mark Freeman, University of Alberta physics professor and Canada Research Chair in condensed matter physics. "It was the perfect testbed for this new method."

In the new method of measuring magnetic resonance, published in the November 13, 2015 issue of the journal Science, the signal is a mechanical twisting motion, detected with light. The new approach is more naturally suited to miniaturization than the current method, which creates an electrical signal by induction. In fact, the entire magnetic sensor unit created with the new technology can fit on a chip as small as one square centimetre.

"Our discovery makes the case that magnetic resonance is in essence both a mechanical and magnetic phenomenon on account of magnetic dipoles possessing angular momentum," says Freeman, noting that the concept of magnetism makes more sense when you consider its mechanical properties. "Magnetism needs better spin doctors than it has had. Everything in the world is magnetic on some level, so the possibilities for scientific applications of this new technique are endless."

The discovery opens up a world of possible miniaturized platforms for health care, technology, energy, environmental monitoring, and space exploration. Explains Freeman, "There are immediate applications in physics, Earth sciences, and engineering, but we have only looked at electron spin resonance. Proton spin resonance is the next big step that will open up applications in chemistry and biology."

To foster the development of these applications, Freeman's team plans to openly share the information about how to execute this technique, feeding the current maker movement. It was important to the team not to patent this discovery--as is often the pressure for scientists conducting these types of discoveries--but instead to publish their findings in a scientific journal to provide open-source access that will advance the field. "Ultimately, the way science makes progress is through people sharing discoveries," says Freeman, adding that he hopes others will adapt the technology for their own needs.

Freeman, who worked for IBM before coming to the University of Alberta, believes that chip-based miniaturizable mechanical devices--by virtue of their small scale and superior performance--will come to replace some electronic sensors in devices like smart phones and on space exploration probes. "It's an elegant solution to a challenging problem, simple but not obvious," says Freeman, who has been working on the experimental challenge solved in this paper for the past two decades. "Working in condensed matter physics is like having the best seat at an awe-inspiring parade of progress."

###

Postdoctoral fellow Joseph Losby, PhD candidate Fatemeh Fani Sani, and former undergraduate student Dylan Grandmont spearheaded the research under the guidance of Freeman, along with collaborators at the National Institute for Nanotechnology and the University of Manitoba. The findings, "Torque-Mixing Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy," were published in the journal Science.

Media Contact

Jennifer Pascoe
jennifer.pascoe@ualberta.ca
780-492-8813

 @ualberta

http://www.ualberta.ca

Jennifer Pascoe | EurekAlert!

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top
20.04.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

nachricht New record on squeezing light to one atom: Atomic Lego guides light below one nanometer
20.04.2018 | ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>