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Lab-On-A-Chip for Detection of Near-Zero Field NMR and MRI
JIB-2534

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:

ADVANTAGES:

ABSTRACT:

Alexander Pines, Dmitry Budker, Micah Ledbetter, and their colleagues at Berkeley Lab have designed a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) microchip device equipped with a built-in microscale atomic magnetometer (in the form of an alkali vapor cell) and a microfluidic channel. The Berkeley Lab invention is the first lab-on-a-chip to detect NMR in near-zero magnetic fields. It is also the first to integrate microfluidic channels and a microfabricated atomic magnetometer into a microscale NMR/MRI instrument.

The invention includes a novel lithographic technique that promises further miniaturization of NMR/MRI detectors and, ultimately, improved sensitivity to smaller samples. For example, the Berkeley Lab system can detect low magnetic fields in the range of 100 fT/Hz1/2—three times more sensitive than the current state of the art in low-field detection. Additionally, the new system offers industry and researchers superior versatility; it can be used either remotely or nonremotely to detect NMR or MRI signals, and it can detect and encode NMR/MRI signals at either a low or high magnetic field.

The technology is more cost-efficient than competing low field systems, as it does not require large, expensive superconducting magnets or cryogenic systems. Furthermore, the invention offers a new fabrication approach that is both efficient and affordable for the drug and microfabrication industries.

DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle.

STATUS: Published patent application US2009-025656A1 available at www.uspto.gov.  Available for licensing or collaborative research.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Ledbetter, M.P., I.M. Savukov, D. Budker, V. Shah, S. Knappe, J. Kitching, D.J. Michalak, S. Xu, and A. Pines, “Zero-field remote detection of NMR with a microfabricated atomic magnetometer,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105, 7 (2008).

SEE THESE OTHER BERKELEY LAB TECHNOLOGIES IN THIS FIELD:

Novel Use of NMR with Microfluidic Lab-On-A-Chip Devices, IB-2212

Low Field MRI with Improved Resolution and Portability Using Gradient Fields of Arbitrary Size, IB-2062

Remote Detection of Blood Flow in Living Systems with Background-free MRI, IB-2444

Optical Atomic Magnetometer for Portable, Inexpensive MRI and Magnetic Microparticle Detection, IB-2232, 2286, 2354

REFERENCE NUMBER: JIB-2534

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