Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Kind Of MRI Enables Study Of Magnets For Computer Memory, Plaques In Blood Vessels

Date:
July 17, 2008
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
What is there to see inside a magnet that's smaller than the head of a pin? Quite a lot, say physicists who've invented a new kind of MRI technique to do just that. The technique may eventually enable the development of extremely small computers, and even give doctors a new tool for studying the plaques in blood vessels that play a role in diseases such as heart disease.

Image of an array of microscopic magnets taken with scanned probe ferromagnetic resonance force microscopy -- a new imaging technique invented by Ohio State University physicists and colleagues. The disk-shaped magnets measure only two micrometers (millionths of a meter) across.
Credit: Image courtesy of Ohio State University.

What is there to see inside a magnet that's smaller than the head of a pin? Quite a lot, say physicists who've invented a new kind of MRI technique to do just that.

The technique may eventually enable the development of extremely small computers, and even give doctors a new tool for studying the plaques in blood vessels that play a role in diseases such as heart disease.

In a recent issue of Physical Review Letters, the scientists report the first-ever magnetic resonance image of the inside of an extremely tiny magnet.

Specifically, the magnet is a "ferromagnet" -- a magnet made of ferrous metal such as iron. It's what most people think of when they hear the word "magnet."

"The magnets we study are basically the same as a refrigerator magnet, only much smaller," said project leader Chris Hammel, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Experimental Physics at Ohio State University. The disk-shaped magnets in this study measured only two micrometers (millionths of a meter) across.

"Because ferromagnets generate such strong magnetic fields, we can't study them with typical MRI. A related technique, ferromagnetic resonance, or FMR, would work, but it's not sensitive enough to study individual magnets that are this small."

Likewise, medical researchers can't use MRI to image plaques formed in the body, because plaques are too small. That's why this new kind of magnetic resonance could eventually become a tool for biomedical research.

The technique combines three different kinds of technology: MRI, FMR, and atomic force microscopy.

They dubbed the technique "scanned probe ferromagnetic resonance force microscopy," or scanned probe FMRFM, and it involves detecting a magnetic signal using a tiny silicon bar with an even tinier magnetic probe on its tip.

As the probe passes over a material, it captures a bowl-shaped image: a curved cross-section of an object. The magnetic signal is more intense in the middle (the "bottom" of the bowl), and fades away toward the edges.

It may sound like an odd configuration, but that's why the new technique works.

Every atom emits radio waves at a particular frequency. But to know where those atoms are, scientists need to be able to localize where the radio waves are coming from.

Large-scale MRI machines, such as those in hospitals, get around this problem by varying the magnetic field by precise amounts as it sweeps over an object. The computer controlling the MRI knows that where the magnetic field equals X, the location equals Y. Sophisticated software combines the data, and doctors get a 3D view inside a patient's body.

For Hammel's tiny magnets, no methods were previously known that would image the inside of them, much less allow for precise localization. But since the new probe system generates a magnetic field that varies naturally, the physicists discovered that they could sweep the probe over an array of magnets and get a 2D view that's similar to a medical MRI. In Physical Review Letters, they reported an image resolution of 250 nanometers (billionths of a meter).

Now that they have their imaging technique, Hammel and his team are beginning to record the properties of many different kinds of tiny magnets -- a critical first step toward developing them for computer memory.

Experts believe that one day, tiny magnets could be implanted on a computer's central processing unit (CPU) chip. Because system data could be recorded on the magnets, such a computer would never need to boot up. It would also be very small; essentially, the entire computer would be contained in the CPU.

For biomedical research, the technique could be used to study tissue samples taken from plaques that form in brain tissues and arteries in the body. Many diseases are associated with plaques, including Alzheimer's and atherosclerosis. Currently, researchers are trying to study the structure of plaques in detail to understand how they form and how they affect conventional MRI images.

Hammel and his team hope to contribute to the development of an instrument that could be sold and used routinely in laboratories. But the technique needs some further development before it could become an everyday tool for the computer industry or for biomedicine.

Hammel's Ohio State coauthors on the paper include Yuri Obukhov, a research associate; Thomas Gramila, associate professor of physics; Denis Pelekhov, a research scientist in the university's Institute for Materials Research; Palash Banerjee, a postdoctoral researcher; and Jongjoo Kim and Sanghun An, both doctoral students. They collaborated with Ivar Martin, Evgueni Nazaretski and Roman Movshovich of Los Alamos National Laboratory; and Sharat Batra of Seagate Research, the research and development center of hard drive manufacturer Seagate Technologies.

This work was funded by the Department of Energy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "New Kind Of MRI Enables Study Of Magnets For Computer Memory, Plaques In Blood Vessels." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080717092025.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2008, July 17). New Kind Of MRI Enables Study Of Magnets For Computer Memory, Plaques In Blood Vessels. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080717092025.htm
Ohio State University. "New Kind Of MRI Enables Study Of Magnets For Computer Memory, Plaques In Blood Vessels." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080717092025.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins