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Quantum Computing Has Applications in Magnetic Imaging, Say Pitt Researchers

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Gurudev Dutt

University of Pittsburgh physics professor Gurudev Dutt

Credit: Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette

University of Pittsburgh researchers are developing a nanoscale magnetic imager made of single electrons encased in a diamond crystal.

"Think of this like a typical medical procedure--a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)—but on single molecules or groups of molecules inside cells instead of the entire body," says Pittsburgh professor Gurudev Dutt.

Resonance allows physicists to make precise measurements of quantities such as force, mass, and electric and magnetic fields. However, Dutt notes that resonance also restricts the maximum field that can be measured accurately, which means that researchers can only detect a narrow range of fields from molecules near the sensor's resonant frequency, making the imaging process more challenging.

The Pittsburgh researchers used quantum computing methods to view the entire magnetic field, improving the ratio between the maximum detectable field strength and field precision by a factor of 10. Dutt says the breakthrough is another step toward developing a nanoscale MRI machine that can analyze molecules, materials, and cells in a noninvasive way.

"Our work shows that quantum computing methods reach beyond pure electronic technologies and can solve problems that, earlier, seemed to be fundamental roadblocks to making progress with high-precision measurements," he says.

From University of Pittsburgh News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc. External Link, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 


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