APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Designing new drugs; parallel processing drugs
- Designing microchip NMR/MRI detectors
- Mass manufacturing microfabricated devices
- Biomedical, pharmaceutical and geologic industry research
- Operates remotely or nonremotely
- Does not require superconducting magnets or cryogenic systems
- Enables further miniaturization of microchip devices
- Promises efficient and affordable mass fabrication of microscale devices
- Sensitivity may be competitive with high-field detection
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:
REFERENCE NUMBER: JIB-2534