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Artificial atoms allow for magnetic resonance on individual cells
Date:2/11/2013

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.


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Contact: Albert Mundet
albert.mundet@icfo.eu
34-935-542-246
ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences
Source:Eurekalert  

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