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MRI Scans In The Palm Of Your Hand

by Stanford Magnets

NMR spectroscopy is a common device for studying the structure of proteins and identifying the chemical composition of a material. It is the most essential part in the medical imaging technique magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. This is a very useful tool for a non-intrusive examination. However one of the biggest disadvantages of NMR is that the superconducting magnets used are very large. Therefore MRI scans have been limited to certain places and hospitals. But thanks to researches in Germany, they have managed to reduce the size to a small portable handheld device.

They did this by piling three rings of samarium cobalt to create the small cylindrical magnet. Each ring contains trapezoid-shaped magnets with gaps in between. These gaps contain rectangular magnets that are a vital part to the technology; by adjusting these rectangular magnets, engineers are able to smooth out abnormalities in the magnetic field that are generally the blight of hard work to make small, specific NMR magnets. The new magnet produces a 0.7 tesla magnetic field, but it produces an exceptionally standardized field. As a consequence, it is the first transportable magnet that works with the conventional five-millimeter tubes in which NMR samples are placed.

This new advancement will not replace MRI machines, which are still required for an exhaustive medical examination. Instead these new products will be the foundation for handheld devices that examine archaeological artifacts on-site or classify blood clots or cancer proteins right in the doctor's office, or even in isolated regions far from conventional lab resources. These results are amazing, as no previous magnet has been able to perform to such a high standard.

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