Friday, 23 March 2018

Amazing brain scanner: detects weak magnetic fields from neurons!

New Brain Scanner
more compact than MRI allowing some (limited) motion (lasers, ions and magnetism)

The new sensor, though, is smaller and can be fitted into the helmet. It works by shining a laser through a cloud of heated rubidium isotope atoms and monitoring for dips in luminosity. The rubidium atoms are sensitive to magnetic fields, and they disrupt the laser beam ever so slightly in the presence of magnetism. The researchers published their work Wednesday in Nature.

The magnetic fields our brains generate are miniscule on the order of femtoteslas. They’re several orders of magnitude less than the Earth’s own magnetic field, and it means that protective shielding is needed for MEG machines. To make their helmet work, the researchers’ final design includes a pair of electromagnetic coils that generate a field exactly equal, and opposite to, that of the Earth’s, creating a space effectively without outside magnetism.

New Brain Scanner Fits Right Atop the Head

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