Compact magnetometry for minimally invasive detection of biological currents

Leuven - PhD
More than two weeks ago

Harnessing the electron spin using integrated photonics for a sensitive measurement of small magnetic fields.


Biological phenomena such as neuronal action potentials and the associated ionic currents are measured usually directly using contact mode potential or current measurements. The magnetic component of these biological currents is usually neglected, as the induced magnetic fields are very small and sensitive magnetometry requires either large or cryogenic instrumentation. Optically detected magnetic resonance (ODMR) in nitrogen vacancies in diamond, however, has been shown to exhibit large sensitivities to small magnetic fields, up to room temperature. Optical read-out of magnetic fields has the potential to be less invasive than direct current or potential measurements, as no electrical contact with the fluid is required. The NV-vacancy does require close proximity (micrometers) to the biological current. 

Although there is great progress in the use of NV-centers, for instance in the context of quantum optics, the used optical setups are still relatively bulky. At imec, we work on miniaturizing bulky optical instruments for life sciences using integrated photonics. In this PhD you will investigate schemes, based on integrated photonics, to dramatically miniaturize the detection of ODMR of NV-vacancies in diamond films, allowing to measure small magnetic fields, relevant for use in biological applications. The work will consist both of simulations & design, to predict the best geometries and performance and an experimental part, with nanofabrication and characterization.‚Äč

Required background: Physics, Electrical Engineering

Type of work: 40% modeling/simulation, 40% experimental, 20% literature

Supervisor: Pol Van Dorpe, Niels Verellen

Daily advisor: Niels Verellen

The reference code for this position is 1812-51. Mention this reference code on your application form.


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