Nano Loudspeakers Could Improve MRIs
A team of physicists from the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), the Neils Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Harvard University has developed a theory describing how to both detect weak electrical signals and cool electrical circuits using light and something similar to a nanosized loudspeaker. The ability to detect extremely faint electrical signals may greatly improve and simplify MRI medical procedures.
Since MRI machines need powerful superconducting magnets, reducing the strength of the signals needed for a reading would reduce the strength and size of the magnets, according to JQI physicist Jake Taylor.
“We envision coupling a nanomechanical membrane to an electrical circuit so that an electrical signal, even if exceedingly faint, will cause the membrane to quiver slightly as a function of the strength of that signal,” said Taylor. “We can then bounce photons from a laser off that membrane and read the signal by measuring the modulation of the reflected light as it is shifted by the motion of the membrane. This leads to a change in the wavelength of the light.”
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Also: An open-access MRI system is being developed for use in lung research.