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Ultra-sensitive atomic magnetometry for brain function diagnostics

   School of Physics and Astronomy

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  Dr V Guarrera  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

The huge progress achieved in the manipulation of quantum systems is opening novel routes towards the generation of realistic quantum-based technology. Quantum sensors, in particular, exploit the intrinsic "weakness" of quantum systems, their extreme sensitivity to external perturbations, to provide measurements of the perturbing fields with unprecedented sensitivity and stability. This project targets the realization of ultra-sensitive quantum magnetometers based on neutral atoms at room temperature, for studying the human brain function by measuring the tiny magnetic fields generated by the neuronal activity of the brain. This is of great interest for understanding healthy brain functionality, as well as for clinical diagnostics and for treatment of injuries and disorders via targeted magnetic stimulation of the brain.

In this project, you will be joining a team developing optically pumped atomic magnetometers in close collaboration with neuroscientists from the University of Birmingham. You will realize a new generation of compact devices to measure bio-magnetic fields with record sensitivity, real-time operation, and high spatial resolution. You will also take part in the implementation of the devices for medical application and in the measurement campaigns. Desirable skills for this project are a strong experimental ability, in particular in optics, a good understanding of quantum mechanics and atomic physics, an interest in medical application of quantum technologies and a good sense of humour.

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