(UNM.edu) A team of researchers from The University of New Mexico and its Center for High Technology Materials (CHTM) is working to develop a quantum sensor for determining the chemical composition of trace quantities of samples. The technology could have a big impact on numerous scientific fields, ranging from analytic chemistry to single-cell biology.
The UNM team is led by Victor Acosta, assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy and CHTM, in conjunction with Andrey Jarmola, University of California, Berkeley Department of Physics, and CEO of ODMR Technologies Inc.
The researchers integrated a diamond quantum sensor into a microfluidic platform that shuttled fluids between a strong permanent magnet – “like refrigerator magnets,” he explained – and a carefully-controlled electromagnet. They were able to register NMR spectra of picoliter-volumes of fluids with a higher sensitivity and spectral resolution than was possible in previous work. This allowed them to perform, for the first time with diamond quantum sensors, two-dimensional NMR spectroscopy, an important technique for quantifying the molecular composition of complex bodily fluids and identifying the structure of proteins.
The team’s diamond quantum sensor technology has already attracted commercial interest. Research team member Jarmola’s start-up is working towards commercializing the technology.