Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Quantum probes dramatically improve detection of nuclear spins

03.07.2017

Limitations of conventional nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy overcome

Researchers at the University of Melbourne have demonstrated a way to detect nuclear spins in molecules non-invasively, providing a new tool for biotechnology and materials science.


A nitrogen-vacancy (dark blue) quantum probe in diamond (light grey) performing nanoscale nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) on molecular hydrogen sitting on the diamond's surface. A green laser controls the quantum state of the probe, which is tuned to the resonant frequency of target nuclear spins. The probe responds to the nuclear spins of the hydrogen atoms and provides a direct measurement via the red light emitted.

Credit: David A. Broadway/cqc2t.org

Important research in medicine and biology relies on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, but until now, it has been limited in spatial resolution and typically requires powerful microwave fields. A team led by Professor Lloyd Hollenberg at the University of Melbourne has used a quantum probe to perform microwave-free NMR at the nanoscale. The results were published today in Nature Communications.

"This quantum probe delivers a dramatic improvement in NMR technology. In addition to being able to detect NMR in far smaller samples than conventional machines, our technique does not require the application of microwave fields that might disrupt biological samples" said Hollenberg, who is Deputy Director of the Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T) and Thomas Baker Chair at the University of Melbourne.

"In NMR the goal is to detect the magnetic signal from the nuclei of the atoms comprising molecules. But the signal from the nuclear "spin" is very weak and conventional NMR machines require many millions of nuclear spins to detect anything. However, using the quantum properties of a 'defect' in diamond, our technique can detect much smaller volumes down to only thousands of spins."

The discovery may overcome significant limitations with conventional NMR methods, which depend on machines that can exceed 10 tonnes.

"The problem with the large NMR machines in widespread use today is that the signals we're trying to detect are extremely small, and the distance from the measurement device to the object being measured is very large," said Dr. Alastair Stacey, a CQC2T postdoctoral researcher.

"This creates two problems: The machine can only see a larger collection of molecules, reducing the accuracy of the measurement. It also has to use very strong microwaves and magnetic fields to reach the sample, but these processes are invasive and can affect delicate bio-samples, just like the microwave in your kitchen, particularly when trying to see the molecular structure of liquids."

Lead author James Wood describes the technique as "a dramatic simplification of the nuclear detection process, where we essentially shine light on an atomic-sized defect in diamond and observe its natural response, at a fundamentally quantum level, to the target nuclear spins nearby".

"A great benefit of our approach is that we don't interfere with the sample when imaging it."

The technique offers new opportunities for researchers.

"With these advances in quantum sensing technology, we are opening the door to a new world of scientific investigation that could lead us to gain a better understanding of the smallest building blocks of life," said Hollenberg.

###

The research is supported with funding from the Australian Research Council through the Centre of Excellence and Laureate Fellowship programs.

Media Contact

Nerissa Hannink
nhannink@unimelb.edu.au
043-058-8055

 @cqc2t_

http://cqc2t.org 

Nerissa Hannink | EurekAlert!

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm
16.02.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Supermassive black hole model predicts characteristic light signals at cusp of collision
15.02.2018 | Rochester Institute of Technology

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: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>