A light-based technique for measuring very weak magnetic fields was recently developed by the researchers at the University of Arizona. A portable, low-cost brain imaging system based on fiber optic products can operate at room temperature in unshielded environments. This fiber optic system would allow real-time brain activity mapping after potential concussions on the sports field and in conflict zones where the effect of explosives on the brain can be catastrophic.
Speaking specifically, scientists and engineers fabricated the magnetic sensors using optical fibers and a polymer-nanoparticle composite that is sensitive to magnetic fields. The researchers selected for their project nanoparticles based on magnetite and cobalt. These materials exhibit very high magnetic sensitivity. The aforementioned magnetic sensors can detect the brain’s magnetic field, which is 100 million times weaker than the magnetic field of Earth. Also, the researchers showed that new magnetic sensors can catch the weak magnetic pattern of a human heartbeat and has the capability to detect magnetic fluctuations that change every microsecond from an area as small as 100 square microns. Multiple seasons could then be used together to provide high spatial resolution brain mapping.
During work, the polarization rotation using an optical interferometer was detected. This works by splitting laser light into two paths, one of which passes through the highly-sensitive material while the other does not.
Indeed, further development of the researchers will be aimed at the long-term stability of magnetic sensors. Scientists plan to study how well sensors withstand environmental changes. Plus they want to fabricate several hundred sensors to make a special fiber optic system for evaluating and imaging the entire magnetic field of a human brain.
The newly developed magnetic sensors could help scientists better understand the activity of the brain and diseases of the brain such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. They might also be used to predict volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, identify oil and minerals for excavation and detect military submarines. In addition to this, such magnetic sensors could offer an alternative to the magnetic reasonable imaging (MRI) systems currently used to map brain activity without the expensive cooling or electromagnetic shielding required by MRI machines.
Optromix is a fast-growing seller of such products from the fiber Bragg grating (FBG) line of products: fiber Bragg grating sensors, FBG interrogators, and multiplexers and, of course, Distributed Temperature, Acoustic, and Strain Sensing systems (DTS). Our major goal is to deliver the best quality of fiber optic sensors to our clients. Optromix creates and supplies a broad variety of excellent fiber-optic solutions for monitoring of various facilities all over the world.