Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First Report of Real-Time Manipulation and Control of Nuclear Spin Noise

26.08.2013
Basel Physicists in collaboration with Dutch researchers have demonstrated a new method for polarizing nuclear spins in extremely small samples.

By Monitoring and controlling spin fluctuations, the method may provide a route for enhancing the resolution of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on the nanometer-scale, allowing researchers to make 3D images of smaller objects than ever before. The results have been published in the journal «Nature Physics».

Many of the elements that make up the matter around us, such as hydrogen or phosphorus, contain a magnetic nucleus at the center of each atom. This nucleus acts like a tiny magnet with a north and south pole. By applying a large magnetic field, the poles of these nuclei align along the magnetic field, producing a so-called nuclear spin polarization.

When the nuclei are irradiated with electromagnetic impulses (radio waves) at a very specific frequency, they change their direction away from the magnetic field. Because they are magnetic, the nuclei then start turning back. As they do so, they emit the energy they had previously absorbed through the radio waves. With a special antenna these signals can be detected.

This method is called nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and can provide very useful information about a sample, such as its chemical composition or structure. The method also forms the basis of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which can make 3D images of the density of an object and is often used on patients in hospitals.

However, for very small objects (i.e. smaller than a single cell) containing a small number of nuclei, the natural fluctuations of the nuclear spin polarization actually become larger than the polarization produced by a large magnetic field. These deviations are known as «spin noise». The fact that spin noise is so dominant at small scales is one of the reasons why measuring NMR and MRI in very small objects is so difficult.

Monitoring, controlling and capturing
The team led by Prof. Martino Poggio from the University of Basel in Switzerland has now demonstrated, together with scientists from Eindhoven University of Technology and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, a method for creating polarization order from such random fluctuations. By monitoring, controlling, and capturing statistical spin fluctuations, the team produced polarizations that were much larger than what can be created by applying a magnetic field.

This is the first report of the real-time manipulation, control, and capture of fluctuations arising from nuclear spin noise. The results are immediately relevant to recent technical advances that have dramatically reduced the possible detection volumes of NMR measurements. «Improved understanding of these phenomena may lead to new high resolution nano- and atomic-scale imaging techniques», explains Poggio, Argovia Nanotechnology Professor at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The Basel method may provide a route for enhancing the sensitivity of nanometer-scale magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or possibly for the implementation of solid-state quantum computers.

Further Implications
The method’s ability to reduce nuclear spin polarization fluctuations may also be useful to enhance the coherence time of solid-state qubits. Qubits are units of quantum information used in quantum computers. Qubits implemented in the solid-state – especially in structures called quantum dots – are very susceptible to fluctuations in nuclear polarization: even tiny variations in the nuclear polarization destroy a qubit’s coherence. Therefore, the ability to control these fluctuations may extend qubit coherence times and thus help in the on-going development of solid-state quantum computers. Poggio points out that his «approach to capture and store spin fluctuations is generally applicable to any technique capable of detecting and addressing nanometer-scale volumes of nuclear spins in real-time».

The study was supported by the Canton Aargau, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF), the Swiss Nanoscience Institute (SNI), and the National Center of Competence in Research for Quantum Science and Technology (QSIT).

Original Citation
P. Peddibhotla, F. Xue, H. I. T. Hauge, S. Assali, E. P. A. M. Bakkers, M. Poggio
Harnessing nuclear spin polarization fluctuations in a semiconductor nanowire
Nature Physics (2013) | doi: 10.1038/nphys2731
Further Information
Prof. Martino Poggio, University of Basel, Department of Physics, Tel: +41 61 267 37 61, Mob: +41 79 452 81 97, E-Mail: martino.poggio@unibas.ch

Christoph Dieffenbacher | Universität Basel
Further information:
http://www.unibas.ch
http://www.nature.com/nphys/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nphys2731.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'
26.05.2017 | University of Leicester

nachricht Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect
24.05.2017 | Vienna University 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: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>