Keele Team constructs new bio-magnetometer to save thousands

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Posted on 24 June 2013

The Bio-magnetics research team in the Research Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine have come up with a low cost solution for their need to measure the properties of magnetic nanoparticle suspensions.
Conventional magnetometers, such as the superconducting quantum interference device magnetometer, used for this purpose cost about £0.5million, and their use of cryogens makes them expensive to run.

An alternative system, based on the AC magnetic susceptibility technique, enables the detection of magnetic material with high sensitivity, and provides additional information regarding the behaviour of the material in suspension, so the team at Keele decided to build one – at a fraction of the cost.  The Faculty of Health provided £10,600 from the Higher Education Funding Council's capital fund to enable purchase of the necessary electronic equipment, together with the construction of a custom made coil system.
The project leader, Dr Neil Telling, built, calibrated and tested the system in the Bio-magnetics Laboratory in the Guy Hilton Research Centre.  The new instrument can provide unique state-of-the-art measurements that will benefit projects undertaken throughout the Bio-magnetics research group, including new magnetic nanostructures for regenerative medicine, investigations of the role of biomineralised iron in neurodegenerative diseases, and magnetic hyperthermia ("magnetotherapy") studies. There may also be commercial potential to sell similar equipment to other research groups."