With a joint fellowship programme the American Ceramic Society, the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) and the Kiel University (CAU) want to support the international exchange of doctoral researchers. The programme „International Research Experience for Students“ is funded by the American National Science Foundation (NSF) with 500,000 dollars. It enables young scientists from the USA to complete a six-month research stay in Kiel. From the winter semester 2019/20 onwards, they will be able to attend lectures at the Faculty of Engineering and get actively involved in its research work. The subject of the three-year programme is based around three of Kiel University's major research networks, which are working at the interface between engineering and medicine on sensors for biomagnetic fields (Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 1261 "Magnetoelectric Sensors: From Composite Materials to Biomagnetic Diganostics"), on new materials to treat brain disorders (Research Training Group 2154 "Materials for Brain") and on the implementation of the information processing in nervous systems into hardware electronics.(Research Group 2093 "Memristive devices for neuronal systems").
The aim of the programme IRES is to support first-rate young researchers at the CAU and American universities in their career development: Programme participants, known as PACK fellows (Penn State – American Ceramic Society – University of Kiel), will have the opportunity of a training in an international setting and building long-term networks. The programme focuses on their exchange with scientist of the CAU and Penn State in the fields of magnetoelectric composite materials, biomagnetic sensors, imaging procedures to display brain activities, biomaterials, medical signal processing and neuromorphic components. The American Ceramic Society is administering the programme.
"Bringing young committed researchers together at international level and establishing networks for them is an important component of our support for young researchers," stressed CRC spokesperson Professor Eckhard Quandt. "This cooperation also demonstrates Kiel University's research strength and international visibility in the emerging field of biomagnetic field sensing. Through this project, we hope to establish the foundations for further German-American research partnerships."
Full CAU press release: https://www.uni-kiel.de/en/details/news/pack0/
The CRC1261’s graduate student program “Integrated Research Training Group” IRTG promotes young scientists to present their research at international conferences. To do so, project A6 member and electron microscopist Niklas Wolff was granted the opportunity to visit the 19th International Microscopy Congress IMC19 held in Sydney from 9-14th September. Niklas presented his research on the micro- and the atomic structure of multilayer systems which are investigated for potential application as high-temperature stable magnetostrictive phase for biomagnetic sensors.
In the future, highly-sensitive sensors could be able to detect magnetic signals from the body in order to draw conclusions on heart or brain functions. In contrast with established electrical measurement techniques, they would achieve contactless measurement, i.e. without direct skin contact. At present, such measurements are still associated with considerable expense and effort. This is because the sensors must be cooled dramatically, or shielded against other magnetic fields. Now, researchers at Kiel University built an important basis for biomagnetic diagnostics. In the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1261 "Magnetoelectric Sensors: From Composite Materials to Biomagnetic Diagnostics", they are researching the development of magnetic field sensors, which in the long-term - with better spatial resolution - could be easily put to use in medical practice. The interdisciplinary research team developed a magnetic field sensor system that not only includes the detection of a magnetic signal, but also its processing. The researchers presented their results in the journal Scientific Reports.
Full press release can be found at: http://www.uni-kiel.de/pressemeldungen
Our new phase noise analyzer FSWP from Rohde & Schwarz has just arrived. With this measurement device the phase noise (and also the amplitude noise) of both one-port and two-port devices under test (DUT) can be measured. One-port measurements are particularly necessary for the noise characterization of the oscillators used for the excitation of our sensors. However, the main feature of this device is the additional radio frequency (RF) source for so-called additive phase noise measurements, e.g. two-port measurements. Thus, we are now able to comprehensively analyze our new surface acoustic wave (SAW) magnetic field sensors [Kit 2018] regarding their noise behaviour. Last but not least the FSWP greatly supports the development of low-noise sensor electronics.
[Kit 2018] A. Kittmann, P. Durdaut, S. Zabel, J. Reermann, J. Schmalz, B. Spetzler, D. Meyners, N. X. Sun, J. McCord, M. Gerken, G. Schmidt, M. Höft, R. Knöchel, F. Faupel, and E. Quandt: Wide Band Low Noise Love Wave Magnetic Field Sensor System; Scientific Reports, vol. 8, no. 278, January 2018; http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-18441-4
A highlight, especially for the team of the projects B2 and B6 of the CRC 1261, was the magnetic measurement of nerve signals with a 304 SQUID vector magnetometer at the PTB in Berlin. For further development and also for optimization of our uncooled magnetoelectric (ME) sensors, a better understanding of spectral power distribution and signal strength of nerve signals is of particular interest. Since the magnetic field of human nerve pulses is quite low, only signal amplitudes in the fT range from the deep nerve are measurable. The project B6 intensively prepared these measurements, since an earlier attempt at measuring the signals had completely failed. Finally, Christin Bald and Eric Elzenheimer succeeded in measuring nerve signals magnetically, which also fits to the current electrical gold standard (electroneurography). Signal amplitudes were subject dependent and ranged from 17 fT to 60 fT in a frequency range from 100 Hz to 1 kHz. The required averaging time was in the range of minutes, while for current ME sensors significantly longer averaging times are expected to be necessary.
Ron-Marco Friedrich recently reported on great progress the project project B7. Here, the aim is the detection of magnetically labeled cells for biomaterial scaffold characterization and first measurements of the magnetic field and localization of magnetic nanoparticles were successful. For the measurement, an ME sensor samples space over a surface with magnetic nanoparticles (Fig. 1). The magnetic field is measured and the inverse problem is solved to localize the sources of that magnetic field (Fig. 2).
|Fig. 1: Sampling of the surface with magnetic nanoparticles using an ME sensor. The magnetic moment is aligned with the AC magnetic field.|
|Fig. 2: a) Reference sample with magnetic nanoparticles (red), b) Measured magnetic field (red – positive, blue - negative), c) Reconstructed sources of the magnetic field.|
Good news from our central project Z2. Alexander Teplyuk (project Z2) has finished a new scheme for mounting and characterization of our cantilever-based ME sensors. Instead of of permanenty fixing the cantilevers on a mouning plate (as we did it so far), we can contact the cantilevers now in a non-permanent manner. This allows to adjust the resonance frequency of our sensors in an easy way. Consequently, sensor characterisation with a predetermined center frequency is possible now.
The video above shows how easy it is to install and contact the ME cantilevers with the new measurement setup. By using a simple torque wrench, it is possible to ajust the claming force which dircetly influcenes the resonance frequency. This allows to characterize a large set of sensors with exactly the same resonance behaviour.
Alexander Teplyuk (project Z2) had improved the head scanner with respect to scanning speed, robustness, and saftety means. It is ready now to be used for patient measurements. First evaluations have been performed in close cooperation with our medical project B5.
The scanner has reached the next level ...
Furthermore, a head phantom for emulation of a network of connected sources in the brain has been designed in close cooperation with the rearchers from project B3. Small coils can be arbitrarily placed at designated postions. This allows us to generate a variety of source configurations and we are able now to create the corresponding magentic fields on the surface of our artifical head.