Nanoscale MRIs PossibleCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: February 29, 2012 08:41PM
Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as MRI, is a very useful diagnostic system in medicine, and thanks to research from the University of California, Santa Barbara, it may be reaching to whole new levels. The researchers were working on nitrogen vacancies in diamond; a special kind of defect which has a spin value. They found it was possible for a nitrogen vacancy to detect the magnetic field of a nearby resonator.
Though more work has to be done, the researchers are confident that what enabled those defects to detect the resonator’s magnetic field can be used to create MRI devices capable of analyzing proteins. This would be quite an accomplishment considering what could be learned by directly studying proteins like this. Also the work could be used to improve the resolution of MRI machines meant to examine humans.
Outside of medicine, this technology could be utilized in quantum computers. The ability to detect and thereby control the spin of nitrogen-vacancy defects could be used for working with qubits. This however is further into the future than the advanced MRI devices mentioned above.