The World's Smallest Magnet: A Single Atom

March 18, 2017

IBM has created the world’s smallest magnet using a single atom, and stored one bit of data on it. Currently, hard disk drives use about 100,000 atoms to store a single bit. The ability to read and write one bit on one atom creates new possibilities for developing significantly smaller and denser storage devices, that could someday, for example, enable storing the entire iTunes library of 35 million songs on a device the size of a credit card.
Today’s breakthrough builds on 35 years of nanotechnology history at IBM, including the invention of the Nobel prize-winning scanning tunneling microscope. IBM announced it will be building the world’s first commercial quantum computers for business and science. Future scanning tunneling microscope studies will investigate the potential of performing quantum information processing using individual magnetic atoms.
“Magnetic bits lie at the heart of hard-disk drives, tape and next-generation magnetic memory,” said Christopher Lutz, lead nanoscience researcher at IBM Research – Almaden in San Jose, California. “We conducted this research to understand what happens when you shrink technology down to the most fundamental extreme, the atomic scale.”
By starting at the smallest unit of common matter, the atom, scientists demonstrated the reading and writing of a bit of information to the atom by using electrical current.  They showed that two magnetic atoms could be written and read independently even when they were separated by just one nanometer, a distance that is only a millionth the width of a pin head. This tight spacing could eventually yield magnetic storage that is 1,000 times denser than today’s hard disk drives and solid state memory chips. Future applications of nanostructures built with control over the position of every atom could allow people and businesses to store 1,000 times more information in the same space, someday making data centers, computers and personal devices radically smaller and more powerful.
The IBM scientists used a scanning tunneling microscope (STM), an IBM invention that won the 1986 Nobel Prize for Physics, to build and measure isolated single-atom bits using the holmium atoms. The custom microscope operates in extreme vacuum conditions to eliminate interference by air molecules and other contamination. The microscope also uses liquid helium for cooling that allows the atoms to retain their magnetic orientations long enough to be written and read reliably.


Frontiers in Biomagnetic Particles 2017 - June 5-7

March 10, 2017

There are few more perfect places to discuss the cutting edge of magnetic particle research than beautiful Asheville, North Carolina, U.S.A. This 3 day meeting will include fantastic talks, and presentations from the leaders in the field of magnetic nanoparticles for biomedical applications. This conference will bring a diverse group of disciplines together to discuss the frontiers in the characterization and control of magnetic carriers. The program includes invited talks, contributed talks, and posters. A separate session focused on career development for students will also be included.
 
A social event will also be held the evening before the meeting on Sunday, June 4, 2017 to greet friends and colleagues, old and new.
 
Magneticnanoparticle.com


Tiny Magnetic Implant Offers New Drug Delivery Method

March 02, 2017

University of British Columbia researchers have developed a magnetic drug implant that could offer an alternative for patients struggling with numerous pills or intravenous injections. The device, a silicone sponge with magnetic carbonyl iron particles wrapped in a round polymer layer, measures just six millimetres in diameter. The drug is injected into the device and then surgically implanted in the area being treated. Passing a magnet over the patient’s skin activates the device by deforming the sponge and triggering the release of the drug into surrounding tissue through a tiny opening.
“Drug implants can be safe and effective for treating many conditions, and magnetically controlled implants are particularly interesting because you can adjust the dose after implantation by using different magnet strengths. Many other implants lack that feature,” said study author Ali Shademani, a PhD student in the biomedical engineering program at UBC.
Actively controlling drug delivery is particularly relevant for conditions like diabetes, where the required dose and timing of insulin varies from patient to patient, said co-author John K. Jackson, a research scientist in UBC’s faculty of pharmaceutical sciences. “This device lets you release the actual dose that the patient needs when they need it, and it’s sufficiently easy to use that patients could administer their own medication one day without having to go to a hospital,” said Jackson.
The researchers tested their device on animal tissue in the lab using the prostate cancer drug docetaxel. They found that it was able to deliver the drug on demand even after repeated use. The drug also produced an effect on cancer cells comparable to that of freshly administered docetaxel, proving that drugs stored in the device stay effective. Mu Chiao, Shademani’s supervisor and a professor of mechanical engineering at UBC, said the team is working on refining the device and narrowing down the conditions for its use. “This could one day be used for administering painkillers, hormones, chemotherapy drugs and other treatments for a wide range of health conditions. In the next few years we hope to be able to test it for long-term use and for viability in living models,” said Chiao.
“Active regulation of on-demand drug delivery by magnetically triggerable microspouters” was recently published online in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.


Interested in Going to the "European School on Magnetism"?

March 01, 2017

The next session of the "European School on Magnetism" (ESM) series will take place in Cargèse, Corsica, France, from October 9-21th, 2017. The European School on Magnetism is a pan-European event organized under the umbrella of the European Magnetism Association. 

Submit your application from 1st March to 15th April here.


Theme Issue

December 10, 2016

The journal "Interface Focus" just published a theme issue about ‘Multifunctional nanostructures for diagnosis and therapy of diseases’. Check it out, there are few relevant articles in there for our magnetic particle community.

Check out the articles here:

http://rsfs.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/6/6

Thank you Beata Kalska-Szostko, Claudio Sangregorio, Nguyen TK Thanh and Sylvie Bégin-Colin for organizing this issue!


Tiny Magnetic Sensors Might Open Door to Hand-Held Tests

November 13, 2016

In 2008, Dr. Freeman and his team developed a tiny magnetic sensing device, called a torque magnetometer, on a piece of silicon chip that is smaller than the diameter of a strand of human hair. The device features a tiny spatula-shaped arm suspended on a narrow band of material that twists ever so slightly when the arm is pulled up or down by a magnetic field.
    Now, Dr. Freeman has joined forces with scientists at the University of Calgary and the National Institute for Nanotechnology to add a nanoscale optical system that can measure the position of the arm to extraordinary precision by setting up a pattern of laser light along its length. The system is so sensitive it can record a displacement in the tip of the spatula as small as the diameter of a proton. In a paper in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the scientists document their latest version of the device and demonstrate its ability to sense magnetic forces at scales far smaller than the device itself.
    There could be a host of uses for such a tool, the researchers say, including probing and characterizing the magnetic properties of new materials that are being developed for future applications in electronics and quantum computing.
    But the most imaginative use may be in the area known as magnetic spectrometry. Because different species of atoms have magnetic properties that can be distinguished from one another, it’s possible to use magnetism to tell them apart. The method can be used like a chemical fingerprint. Such measurements are performed today with bench-sized or even room-sized machines. The Alberta researching team appears to have hit upon a way to shrink the capability down to a microscopic device that could be carried around to determine the composition of different materials.


Prevention of Restenosis with Magnetically Targeted Endothelial Cells

October 06, 2016

Boris Polyak at el. assessed the potential of magnetically mediated delivery of endothelial cells (ECs) to inhibit in-stent stenosis induced by mechanical injury in a rat carotid artery stent angioplasty model. ECs loaded with biodegradable superparamagnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) were administered at the distal end of the stented artery and localized to the stent using a brief exposure to a uniform magnetic field. After two months, magnetic localization of ECs demonstrated significant protection from stenosis at the distal part of the stent in the cell therapy group compared to both the proximal part of stent in the cell therapy group and the control (stented, nontreated) group: 1.7-fold (p < 0.001) less reduction in lumen diameter as measured by B-mode and color Doppler ultrasound, 2.3-fold (p < 0.001) less reduction in the ratios of peak systolic velocities as measured by pulsed wave Doppler ultrasound, and 2.1-fold (p < 0.001) attenuation of stenosis as determined through end point morphometric analysis.

The study thus demonstrates that magnetically assisted delivery of ECs is a promising strategy for prevention of vessel lumen narrowing after stent angioplasty procedure. Have a look here at this very interesting work.


Special Issue on Magneto-Plasmonics - Submissions Requested

August 07, 2016

Magneto-plasmonics is a relatively new field that has great potential applications in biomedicine and biomedical technologies such as ultra-sensitive biosensing and bio-detection, bio-imaging, bio-therapy, drug-delivery, nano-imaging, to name a few. Deep understanding of various factors influencing magnetoplasmon properties is an important step in the effort to design new magnetic sensors and devices.

Although some progress on plasmonics has been achieved in the last few years, through combined simulation, modeling, experimental, and theoretical studies, there is still strong need to investigate new phenomena on magneto-plasmonics, in order to better tune and control magneto-optic properties, and to increase the sensitivity of the magnetic bio-sensor through modification of the optical radiation, magnetic field, and structure.

This new field merges the physics of nano-magnetics, where biological samples such as cells and DNA are made to interact with magnetic moments of a material in transverse direction, and nano-optics, where biological samples are made to interact with optical radiation in visible, infra-red, and telecommunication wavelength ranges. In a similar manner, it merges nano-plasmonics where biological samples are made to interact with surface plasmonic wave fields, also referred to as evanescent radiation fields.

Dr. Conrad Rizal from Baylor University's Department of Physics is the lead editor of this special issue. Deadline for paper submissions is November 1, 2016. Please check out more details here.


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Photo of the Month
December 2014
Adsorbing nominal amounts of magnetite nanoparticles onto the surface of stiff, anisotropic ceramic particles like alumina enables the fast, parallel control of inorganic architectures with weak, scalable magnetic fields. This ultra-high magnetic response has been exploited to produce complex filler architectures in a new family of advanced composites. For more info, contact Randall Erb. To see the movie, click here.



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Last Modified: December 09, 2013 - Magneticmicrosphere.com 2013