Tunnel Magnetoresistance Sensor for Detection of Magnetic Nanoparticles Distributed in Human Tissue

PROJECT TITLE: Tunnel Magnetoresistance Sensor for Detection of Magnetic Nanoparticles Distributed in Human Tissue

PROJECT ACRONYM: TMR_NANOMAG

PROJECT CODE: PN-III-P2-2.1-PED-2021-2739

CONTRACT NUMBER: 585PED / 21.06.2022

FUNDING SOURCE: Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI)

PROJECT BUDGET: 598.795,00 RON

PROJECT DURATION: 24 months (21/06/2022-20/06/2024)

PROJECT DIRECTOR:  Dr. Crina Ghemes

E-mail: cghemes@phys-iasi.ro
Tel: +40 232 430680
Fax: +40 232 231132

PROJECT SUMMARY: Due to their low fabrication cost, small size, low power consumption and high sensitivity, magnetoresistive (MR) sensors are promising candidates for many biomedical applications. Recent studies have been conducted to detect magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) and evaluate their concentration in ferrofluids or to indirectly detect biomolecules or bacteria by detecting the magnetic field generated by MNPs adhering to them. The development of a small size sensor with high sensitivity, would be essential for magnetic hyperthermia, which currently suffers from the problem of localizing heat only at the affected site. In this project, we aim to fabricate a simple model of a TMR-based sensor with small size and high sensitivity, capable of detecting MNPs in human tissue. After scanning a sample in which MNPs are dispersed, the sensor will provide information about the presence of particles, the quantification of their different concentrations and their position in the sample.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES: To demonstrate the feasibility of fabricating a simple and cost‑effective sensor based on the tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) effect to detect and quantify magnetic nanoparticles (MNP) distributed in human tissue. This will be achieved by a number of five specific objectives as follows: a) improving the morphology of the TMR structure by optimizing the deposition conditions and magnetic annealing; b) microfabrication of the sensor and magnetic characterization of its performances; c) design the experimental setup so that the sensor and the sample containing the MNPs are integrated and allow the sample to move against the sensor; d) prepare the test samples with different concentrations of magnetic nanoparticles; e) test the capability of the sensor to detect the nanoparticles from the tissue and change its signal depending on the concentration of the particles or their position in the sample.

EXPECTED RESULTS:

  • Optimized sputter deposition and magnetic annealing parameters for the magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) layer stack.
  • A sensor with a geometry that maintains the magnetic performance of the magnetoresistive structure.
  • An experimental setup that allows scanning of a gelatin sample with distributed MNPs.
  • Scanning the tissue-like gelatin sample, detecting the MNPs distributed in it and mapping the sample with the new TMR sensor.
  • At least 2 papers submitted for publication in ISI ranked journals.
  • 3 communications at national and international conferences.

PUBLICATIONS:

1. Crina Ghemes, Oana-Georgiana Dragos-Pinzaru, Mihai Tibu, Mihaela Lostun, Nicoleta Lupu and Horia Chiriac,“Tunnel Magnetoresistance-Based Sensor for Biomedical Application: Proof-of-Concept”, Coatings 2023, 13(2), 227.
https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings13020227

CONFERENCE  PRESENTATIONS:

1) “Tunnel Magnetoresistance - Based Sensor for Detection and Quantification of Volume Distributed Magnetic Nanoparticles”, 13th Joint European Magnetic Symposium – JEMS 2023, 27 August - 1 September, Madrid, Spain.
2)“Improving the Performance of the Magnetic Tunnel Junction by Optimizing the CoFeB/MgO/CoFeB Stack”, 68th Annual Conference on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials MMM 2023 30 October - 3 November, Dallas, TX, USA.