Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Artificial atoms allow for magnetic resonance on individual cells

12.02.2013
Scientists at ICFO develop a technique for MRIs on a molecular scale

Researchers from the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), in collaboration with the CSIC and Macquarie University in Australia, have developed a new technique, similar to the MRI but with a much higher resolution and sensitivity, which has the ability to scan individual cells.

In an article published in Nature Nanotech, and highlighted by Nature, ICFO Prof. Romain Quidant explains how this was accomplished using artificial atoms, diamond nanoparticles doped with nitrogen impurity, to probe very weak magnetic fields such as those generated in some biological molecules.

The conventional MRI registers the magnetic fields of atomic nuclei in our bodies which have been previously excited by an external electromagnetic field. The collective response of all of these atoms makes it possible to diagnose and monitor the evolution of certain diseases. However, this conventional technique has a diagnostic resolution on a millimetric scale. Smaller objects do not give enough signal to be measured.

The innovative technique proposed by the group led by Dr. Quidant significantly improves the resolution at the nanometer scale (nearly one million times smaller than the millimeter), making it possible to measure very weak magnetic fields, such as those created by proteins. "Our approach opens the door for the performance of magnetic resonances on isolated cells which will offer new sources of information and allow us to better understand the intracellular processes, enabling noninvasive diagnosis," explains Michael Geiselmann, ICFO researcher who conducted the experiment. Until now, it has only been possible to reach this resolution in the laboratory, using individual atoms at temperatures close to the absolute zero (approx. -273 degrees Celsius.)

Individual atoms are structures that are highly sensitive to their environment, with a great ability to detect nearby electromagnetic fields. The challenge these atoms present is that they are so small and volatile that in order to be manipulated, they must be cooled to temperatures near the absolute zero. This complex process requires an environment that is so restrictive that it makes individual atoms unviable for potential medical applications. Artificial atoms used by Quidant and his team are formed by a nitrogen impurity captured within a small diamond crystal. "This impurity has the same sensitivity as an individual atom but is very stable at room temperature due to its encapsulation. This diamond shell allows us to handle the nitrogen impurity in a biological environment and, therefore, enables us to scan cells" argues Dr. Quidant.

To trap and manipulate these artificial atoms, researchers use laser light. The laser works like tweezers, leading the atoms above the surface of the object to study and extract information from its tiny magnetic fields.

The emergence of this new technique could revolutionize the field of medical imaging, allowing for substantially higher sensitivity in clinical analysis, an improved capacity for early detection of diseases, and thus a higher probability for successful treatment.

This research has been possible thanks to the support of the private foundation Cellex Barcelona.

ABOUT ICFO

ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences was created in 2002 by the government of Catalonia and the Technical University of Catalonia. ICFO is a center of research excellence devoted to the sciences and technologies of light with a triple mission: to conduct frontier research, train the next generation of scientists and technologists, and provide knowledge and technology transfer. As part of ICFO's goal to usher advances "made at ICFO" into society, the institute actively promotes the creation of spin-off companies by ICFO researchers.

Research at ICFO targets the forefront of science and technology based on light with programs directed at applications in Health, Renewable Energies, Information Technologies, Security and Industrial processes, among others. The center currently hosts more than 250 researchers and PhD students working in more than 60 different laboratories. All research groups and facilities are located in a dedicated 14.000 m2 building situated in the Mediterranean Technology Park in the metropolitan area of Barcelona.

ICFO researchers publish in the most prestigious journals and collaborate with a wide range of companies around the world. In recognition of research excellence, ICFO has been awarded the elite Severo Ochoa distinction by the Government of Spain. Foundation Cellex finances the NEST program at ICFO which makes possible many ambitious frontier research projects.

Albert Mundet | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.icfo.eu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Streamlining accelerated computing for industry
24.08.2016 | DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

nachricht Lehigh engineer discovers a high-speed nano-avalanche
24.08.2016 | Lehigh University

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: Flexibel statt starr

Gezielter und effizienter Transport zellulärer Frachten durch physikalischen Mechanismus

Damit Zellen richtig funktionieren können, müssen Frachten innerhalb der Zelle ständig von einem Ort zum anderen transportiert werden, wobei es ähnlich zugeht...

Im Focus: Elektronen am Tempolimit

Elektronische Bauteile werden seit Jahren immer schneller und machen damit leistungsfähige Computer und andere Technologien möglich. Wie schnell sich Elektronen mit elektrischen Feldern letztendlich kontrollieren lassen, haben jetzt Forscher an der ETH Zürich untersucht. Ihre Erkenntnisse sind wichtig für die Petahertz-Elektronik der Zukunft.

Geschwindigkeit mag keine Hexerei sein, doch sie ist die Grundlage für Technologien, die nicht selten wie Magie anmuten. Moderne Computer etwa sind so...

Im Focus: Forscher beobachten, wie Chaperone defekte Proteine erkennen

Proteine, auch Eiweiße genannt, erfüllen in unserem Körper lebenswichtige Funktionen: Sie transportieren Stoffe, bekämpfen Krankheitserreger oder fungieren als Katalysatoren. Damit diese Prozesse zuverlässig funktionieren, müssen die Proteine eine definierte dreidimensionale Struktur annehmen. Molekulare Faltungshelfer, die sogenannten Chaperone, kontrollieren den Strukturierungsprozess. Ein Forscherteam unter der Beteiligung der Technischen Universität München (TUM) konnte nun herausfinden, wie Chaperone besonders gefährliche Fehler in diesem Strukturierungsprozess erkennen. Die Ergebnisse wurden im Fachmagazin "Molecular Cell" veröffentlicht.

Chaperone sind sozusagen die TÜV-Prüfer der Zelle. Es handelt sich um Proteine, die wiederum andere Proteine auf Qualitätsmängel untersuchen, bevor diese die...

Im Focus: Mikroskopieren mit einzelnen Ionen

Neuartiges Ionenmikroskop nutzt einzelne Ionen, um Abbildungen mit einer Auflösung im Nanometerbereich zu erzeugen

Wissenschaftler um Georg Jacob von der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz haben ein Ionenmikroskop entwickelt, das nur mit exakt einem Ion pro Bildpixel...

Im Focus: Streamlining accelerated computing for industry

PyFR code combines high accuracy with flexibility to resolve unsteady turbulence problems

Scientists and engineers striving to create the next machine-age marvel--whether it be a more aerodynamic rocket, a faster race car, or a higher-efficiency jet...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

VDE und IEEE veranstalten Weltkongress der Consumer-Elektronik auf der IFA

26.08.2016 | Veranstaltungen

IT-Sicherheit – Wettlauf gegen die Zeit

26.08.2016 | Veranstaltungen

Neue Ideen für die Schifffahrt

24.08.2016 | Veranstaltungen

 
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Geothermieforschung: Bund fördert Projekt am Drilling Simulator Celle mit 3,8 Millionen Euro

26.08.2016 | Förderungen Preise

VDE und IEEE veranstalten Weltkongress der Consumer-Elektronik auf der IFA

26.08.2016 | Veranstaltungsnachrichten

Körperwärme als Stromquelle

26.08.2016 | Materialwissenschaften