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Team creates MRI for the nanoscale
Date:2/13/2013

NV centers could serve as very sensitive sensors. They can pick up the magnetic resonance of nearby atoms in a cell, for example. But unlike the atoms in a cell, the NVs shine when a light is directed at them, signaling what their spin is. If you illuminate it with green light it flashes red back.

"It is a form of what is called optically detected magnetic resonance," he said. Like a hiker flashing Morse code on a hillside, the sensor "sends back flashes to say it is alive and well."

"The NV can also be thought of as an atomic magnet. You can manipulate the spin of that atomic magnet just like you do with MRI by applying a radio frequency or radio pulses," Professor Meriles explained. The NV responds. Shine a green light at it when the spin is pointing up and it will respond with brighter red light. A down spin gives a dimmer red light.

Professor Mireles has written on the theoretical underpinnings of the work and proposed the the project to the team, led by Professor Jrg Wrachtrup a physicist at the University of Stuttgart in Germany with the assistance of postdoctoral researcher Friedemann Reinhard and collaborators from the University of Bochum and the University of Science and Technology of China. Professor Wrachtrup heads a leading group studying such defects.

In the lab, graduate student Tobias Staudacher the first author in this work used NVs that had been created just below the diamond's surface by bombarding it with nitrogen atoms. The team detected magnetic resonance within a film of organic material applied to the surface, just as one might examine a thin film of cells or tissue.

"Ultimately," said Professor Meriles, "One will use a nitrogen-vacancy mounted on the tip of an atomic force microscope or an array of NVs distributed on the diamond surface to allow a scanning view of a cell, for example, to probe nuclear spins with a resolution down to a nanometer or perhaps better."


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Contact: Jessa Netting
jnetting@ccny.cuny.edu
212-650-7615
City College of New York
Source:Eurekalert  

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