by Staff Writers
Canberra, Australia (SPX) Mar 09, 2017
Physicists have designed a handheld device inspired by the sonic screwdriver in Doctor Who and the tricorder in Star Trek that will use the power of MRI and mass spectrometry to perform a chemical analysis of objects.
The sonic screwdriver is a tool used in Doctor Who to scan and identify matter, among other functions, while the multi-purpose tricorder in Star Trek can provide a detailed analysis of living things.
Lead researcher Dr Marcus Doherty from The Australian National University (ANU) said the team had proven the concept of a diamond-based quantum device to perform similar functions to these science fiction tools and would now develop a prototype.
"Laboratories and hospitals will have the power to do full chemical analyses to solve complex problems with our device that they can afford and move around easily," said Dr Doherty from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering (RSPE).
"This device is going to enable many people to use powerful instruments like molecular MRI machines and mass spectrometers much more readily."
Dr Doherty said medical researchers could use the device to weigh and identify complex molecules such as proteins, which drive diseases, such as cancer, and cures for those diseases.
"Every great advance for microscopy has driven scientific revolution," he said.
"Our invention will help to solve many complex problems in a wide range of areas, including medical, environmental and biosecurity research."
Molecular MRI is a form of the common medical imaging technology that is capable of identifying the chemical composition of individual molecules, while mass spectrometers measure the masses within a sample.
Co-researcher Michael Barson said the device would use tiny defects in a diamond to measure the mass and chemical composition of molecules with advanced quantum techniques borrowed from atomic clocks and gravitational wave detectors.
"For the mass spectrometry, when a molecule attaches to the diamond device, its mass changes, which changes the frequency, and we measure the change in frequency using the defects in the diamond," said Mr Barson, a PhD student from RSPE.
"For the MRI, we are looking at how the magnetic fields in the molecule will influence the defects as well."
The research is published in Nano Letters:
Thuwal, Saudi Arabia (SPX) Mar 07, 2017
A chance observation of crystals forming a mark that resembled the stain of a coffee cup left on a table has led to the growth of customized polycrystals with implications for faster and more versatile semiconductors. Thin-film semiconductors are the foundation of a vast array of electronic and optoelectronic devices. They are generally fabricated by crystallization processes that yield polycrys ... read more
Australian National University
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|