Optically pumped magnetometers to identify source of seizures

As everyone is familiar from their preliminary classes of physics, a moving charge created a magnetic field in its region. Electrons traveling right through the brain create magnetic fields that are tremendously weak and very difficult to sense, but that involves significant data regarding what is going on inside the limb. Recognizing the position as to where the magnetic fields are created can assist neurosurgeons to cure patients with different kinds of epilepsy since present techniques using direct implantation of electrodes and EEG onto the brain have confirmed nothing.

Researchers from the National Institute of Technology and Standards are operating on a magnetometer that will be able to sense magnetic fields only a small amount of quadrillionths of a tesla. This should be enough to find out the exact position of the tissues creating signals that effect in attacks, giving neurosurgeons an accurate tool to work on their targets.

At present, the top magnetometers employed in clinical and research practices are quantum interference superconducting devices. The issue with these devices is that they need to be refrigerated by the means of liquid helium. They are costly, can be difficult to maintain as well as support, and do not yet offer the required accurateness for most of the applications.

National Institute of Technology and Standards’ technique depends on optically pumped microfabricated magnetometers that do not need refrigerating and can be fixed right onto the scalp and lodge up on anyone. The optically pumped microfabricated magnetometers operate by sensing how the twirl of rubidium atoms is distorted due to a magnetic field. The atoms are lined up with the help of a laser light that is polarized in nature, and any divergence from this arrangement caused by a magnetic field modifies the force of the light that is escaping. By merely sensing the modifications in this light, the power of the magnetic field resulting it to vary is measured.

So far National Institute of Technology and Standards’ prototypes have managed to beat and succeed in what was previously possible. It has also passed the various tests and will be soon out commercially.

Vaibhav Bhosale undertook the post of Content Writer at Medical Device News in November 2016, following a 1.2-year of experience as an Project Lead; Instructional Writer at eNyota Learning Pvt. Ltd. His immense interest in reading brought him in this field. He can be reached at vaibhav@medicaldevicenews.net