© SCIXEL / TU Delft
New Technology MRI Enable Intangible Data Visualization
A Team composed by researchers from Delft University of Technology, Leiden University, Tohoku University and Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter has developed a new technology that allows to visualize magnetic waves in ultrathin magnets. This new technology can have an important impact on several industries and can represent a new tool to design nano logic devices. Current MRI Technologies represent an essential tool to analyse the human body in a non-invasive manner. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner was invented in 1977 by Raymond Damadian, this technology uses powerful magnets that produce strong magnetic fields and reads the energy released by protons. The intensity of this energy depends on the chemical nature of the molecules.
In a similar logic the researcher working on this project made use of a special lattice defect in the crystal structure of diamond, this defect is known as “Nitrogen Vacancy (NV) center”, that basically consists of a Nitrogen atom sitting next to an empty site in the diamond carbon lattice. Toeno Van der Sar, TU Delft Researcher, explains that “To image these waves, we used a diamond chip in which we created a layer of NV centres” and ““We placed this chip on top of a thin magnetic film in which we excited spin waves using electrodes and microwave currents. The NV centres pick up the magnetic fields generated by the spin waves, enabling high resolution spin-wave imaging.” As Gerrit Bauer from Tohoku University explains “this technology may be the basis for a new generation of spin-based devices made from conventional materials ”. In fact the team of researchers managed to demonstrate that “spin-wave MRI” allows to visualize spin waves through opaque materials, like for example the metal wiring on a chip. Traditional MRI has a sensibility that falls in the range of millimeters, but this new technique is so sensitive that it can detect the spin waves in magnets that are only one single atom thick. This visualization technology represents an important tool to design new technologies, like for example logic devices at the smallest scale.