MRI: The Quest for Atomic Resolution

ChEMS Seminar

Featuring Mladen Barbic, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy
California State University, Long Beach

Location:  Engineering Lecture Hall (ELH) Room 110

In their 1973 pioneering paper, Professor Sir Peter Mansfield and colleagues described their first magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) experiments. Since then, MRI has evolved rapidly and has become a tremendous tool in medicine and materials science. Their original and visionary article poses some fundamental questions about the limits of MRI and even ponders the possibility of atomic resolution. Today, spatial resolution in MRI is approximately one micrometer, still very far from atomic resolution. It is an interesting question to ask again, more than three decades after the original article: Is atomic resolution MRI possible today? Barbic will present the case that the developments in modern magnetic nanostructures and ultra-sensitive instrumentation can provide the magnetic fields and sensitivities required to achieve atomic resolution. Topics that he will describe include: a) nanomagnetic planar MRI ‘Lenses’; b) composite nanowire-based probes for mechanical detection of magnetic resonance; c) magnetic nanoparticle amplification of magnetic resonance signals; and, d) magnetic resonance tomography using ferromagnetic nanospheres.

Barbic received his B.S. in Physics in 1995, and Ph.D. in Physics in 2000 from the University of California, San Diego. From 2001-2003 he was a postdoctoral research scholar in Applied Physics at the California Institute of Technology. Since 2003 he has been an assistant professor of Physics at CSU Long Beach. His interests range from the ultra-high sensitivity and resolution magnetic instrumentation to the fabrication and application of magnetic and optical nanostructures to high-density data storage, nano-electro-mechanical, microfluidic, and biomedical systems. He is actively involved in the development of high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging and detection technologies. He is a recipient of the 2004 National Science Foundation CAREER Award.