Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Magnetic resonance in tabletop format revolutionizes diagnostics and material analysis

Magnetic resonance in table device format revolutionizes diagnostics and material analysis
 Credit: Amadeus Bramsiepe, KIT

In the SFB HyPERion, which is coordinated by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), researchers from KIT and the universities of Kaiserslautern, Konstanz and Stuttgart are jointly developing a technology for compact, high-performance magnetic resonance. In the future, this could be used in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, in medical practices or at border crossings. The German Research Foundation (DFG) will support the interdisciplinary network from the 1st. July 2022 over four years with more than 10.6 million euros.

Magnetic resonance is the most chemically specific and at the same time the most versatile measurement method for detailed information on the structure and function of molecular matter. Therefore, it is the basic technique for chemical, biological or material science characterizations. The low sensitivity and the relatively high degree of specialization stand in the way of nationwide use. The Collaborative Research Center "Compact high-performance magnetic resonance systems - HyPERiON" (High Performance Compact Magnetic Resonance) wants to change this by questioning conventional concepts along the entire signal processing chain. The aim is to improve the sensitivity, resilience and applicability of magnetic resonance in equal measure. The team led by SFB spokesman Professor Jan G. Korvink from the KIT Institute for Microstructure Technology (IMT) wants to reduce the volume of high-performance magnetic resonance systems from two cubic meters to the size of a 10-liter bucket - more than a factor of 200. This would enable them to be used from the laboratory in chemical and pharmaceutical factories, medical practices or at border crossings, making the technology universally usable. "Ultimately, it is about researching new and exciting applications in the field of chemistry, biology and chemical process engineering," says Korvink.

Miniaturization also makes magnetic resonance usable for smaller budgets

In order to achieve its goals, the SFB focuses on the miniaturization of all components involved in magnetic resonance technology. These are superconducting magnets, cooling systems, high-speed electronics, magnetic resonance sensors, devices for ultra-fast data transmission as well as devices for hyperpolarizing the nuclear spin of materials and biological samples. "The integration of all these technologies into a modern, portable platform will mean that we can advance applications of social relevance, such as in the diagnosis of diseases, the use of medical implants or the discovery of medication," explains SFB spokesman Korvink . The participants in the SFB assume that their research results will make the fast and high-resolution characterization of materials available for smaller budgets by means of magnetic resonance and will drive developments in chemistry and materials science as a whole.

Quick search for the best materials

In many ways, social well-being depends crucially on access to optimal materials. But the requirements are complex and include not only the function of the material, but also its effects on our biology, on the environment and on how the material can be recovered or broken down. “If the material characterization can be carried out quickly and in high resolution for a very large number of variants with only tiny samples and we can also carry out the tests under operating conditions and examine degradation processes, then we have the chance to find the best starting materials that meet our expectations correspond. This applies in particular to a minimal carbon footprint."Jan Korvink is convinced:" HyPERiON will fundamentally change the possibilities of material characterization and train a new generation of young researchers and engineers in their application for social challenges."

In addition to HyPERiON, KIT is also involved in another new collaborative research center, which will also be. July 2022 starts: SFB 1537 "ECOSENSE" under the leadership of the University of Freiburg wants to identify and predict more precisely and quickly critical changes in the forest ecosystem that arise from climate change.

Source/Credit: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

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