Nanomagnetic relaxometry relies upon the ability to detect tiny magnetic particles by measuring the magnetic fields they release after they are magnetized, ie, when they “relax.” Because low frequency magnetic fields travel freely through human and animal tissue, we can measure these events both inside the body (in vivo) and in tissue samples (ex vivo).
Using specialized superparamagnetic nanoparticles that have biocompatible coatings and are linked to specific antibodies, we can determine whether these particles are bound to their specific targets using the large difference between the relaxation times of bound and unbound particles. The highly sensitive detectors we have developed allow us to measure, in vivo, the number of bound particles with unprecedented sensitivity, and to determine the location of these particles within 0.5 mm.
Collaborative Work by CINT & Senior Scientific
This film was created by a film crew from the Los Alamos Laboratory to be part of the ongoing exhibit on nanotechnology at the Bradbury museum in Los Alamos for the Center for Integrative Nanotechnologies (CINT). It consists of interviews with Dr. Dale Huber and Edward R. Flynn which are partially overlaid visually by ongoing experiments and experimental results.
The magnetic nanoparticles (grey) are bound to cancer cell surfaces (green) by the action of antibodies (blue) that are specific to that particular cancer type.
Specialized superparamagnetic nanoparticles linked to antibodies
Emitted magnetic field measured as particles relax