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 Tiny Drops of Early Universe 'Perfect' Fluid
02.09.2015 | Brookhaven National Laboratory

nachricht Cosmic recycling
02.09.2015 | European Southern Observatory ESO

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: Auffädelung von Nanodiamanten

Kohlenstoffkäfige polymerisieren in Kohlenstoffnanoröhren zu einer linearen nanodiamantenartigen Kette

Im Innenraum von Kohlenstoffnanoröhren gezielt ein lineares Polymer aus nanodiamantenartigen Bausteinen zu gewinnen – das gelang Forschern aus Japan,...

Im Focus: Gassensoren warnen vor Schwelbränden

Rauchmelder sind allgegenwärtig. Dennoch geht die Zahl der Brandopfer jährlich in die Tausende. Brandgasmelder, die auf Kohlenstoffmonoxid und Stickoxide reagieren, entdecken Brände im Frühstadium. Durch ein neues Messprinzip von Fraunhofer-Forschern werden die teuren Sensoren nun kostengünstig und damit bereit für den Massenmarkt.

Die Sterne funkeln am Himmel, die Bewohner des Hauses schlummern in ihren Betten. Soweit nichts Besonderes, doch in dieser Nacht steht ihr Leben auf dem Spiel:...

Im Focus: How wind sculpted Earth's largest dust deposit

China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from University of Arizona geoscientists. The study is the first to explain how the steep-fronted plateau formed.

China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from...

Im Focus: Universum: Simulationen am Supercomputer

Davon träumt die Wissenschaft: An einem Computer zu simulieren, wie sich das Universum bis heute entwickelt hat. Forscher aus Würzburg und Heidelberg wollen dem Traum jetzt näher kommen: Sie haben Rechenzeit im Wert von knapp fünf Millionen Euro auf einem Supercomputer bewilligt bekommen.

Der Würzburger Mathematiker Professor Christian Klingenberg und der Heidelberger Astrophysiker Professor Volker Springel haben sich Großes vorgenommen: Sie...

Im Focus: An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets

The leaves of the lotus flower, and other natural surfaces that repel water and dirt, have been the model for many types of engineered liquid-repelling surfaces. As slippery as these surfaces are, however, tiny water droplets still stick to them. Now, Penn State researchers have developed nano/micro-textured, highly slippery surfaces able to outperform these naturally inspired coatings, particularly when the water is a vapor or tiny droplets.

Enhancing the mobility of liquid droplets on rough surfaces could improve condensation heat transfer for power-plant heat exchangers, create more efficient...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

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

10. LogistikTag Berlin Brandenburg am 10. September 2015 mit dem Schwerpunktthema „Entsorgung“

02.09.2015 | Veranstaltungen

Wenn Maschinen Bedeutung verstehen ... - Konferenz zu semantischen Technologien

02.09.2015 | Veranstaltungen

Internationale Baustofftagung in Weimar

02.09.2015 | Veranstaltungen

 
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Enorm leicht, stark dämpfend und gut umformbar

03.09.2015 | Materialwissenschaften

Wilde Bestäuber sichern das Einkommen von Mandelbauern

03.09.2015 | Agrar- Forstwissenschaften

Dem Klimawandel gewachsen: Ananasgewächse profitieren vom Temperaturanstieg

02.09.2015 | Ökologie Umwelt- Naturschutz