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Dissertation Defense

Yael Maguire:
"Scalable Electromagnetic Microstructure Instrumentation"

Tuesday, May 4, 2004, 2:30 PM EST

Bartos Theatre, MIT Media Lab (E15)

Neil Gershenfeld
Thesis Advisor
Associate Professor of Media Arts and Science
MIT Media Laboratory

Isaac Chuang
Thesis Reader
Associate Professor of Physics, MIT
Associate Professor of Media Arts and Science
MIT Media Laboratory

Shuguang Zhang
Thesis Reader
Associate Director, Center for Biomedical Engineering, MIT

There are three broad resources for performing information processing with physical systems: state space, dynamics, and boundary conditions. This thesis explores boundary conditions and fabrication techniques to design a novel electromagnetic device scalable from centimeters to nanometers called a microslot. By creating a small slot in a planarized waveguide called a microstrip, the boundary conditions of the system force an electromagnetic wave to create a concentrated magnetic field around the slot in a way that can be used to detect or produce magnetic fields. By constructing suitable boundary conditions, a detector of electric fields can be produced as well. One of the most important applications of this technology is for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). This device could improve the mass-limited sensitivity of this technique by orders of magnitude over conventional technology and move us closer to the dream of NMR on a chip. Improving sensitivity in NMR could lead to a dramatic increase in the rate and accessibility of protein structural information accumulation and a host of other applications for fundamental understanding of biology, biomedical applications, and micro/macroscopic engineering.

This structure was constructed at both 5mm and 300mm to understand the properties as a function of scale. The 300mm structure has the best signal to noise ratio of any published planar detector and promises to scale further. The detector has been used to analyze water and a relatively simple organic molecule with nanomole sensitivity. 940 picomols of a small peptide was analyzed and a 2-D correlation spectra was obtained which allowed identification of the amino acids in the peptide and could be further used to determine structure.

This probe was constructed at 300mm using conventional printed circuit board fabrication techniques where the slot was made using a laser micromachining center in seconds. A home-built probe was made to house the circuit board. Since this geometry is simpler than previously demonstrated techniques, fabrication can be automated for arrays and is inherently scalable to small sizes. The planar nature of the device makes it ideal for integration with microfluidics, transceivers, and applications such as cell/neuron chemistry, protein arrays and HPLC-NMR on pico to micromoles of sample.

Furthermore, this work will show that a physically scalable, near-field device could have a variety of further uses in integrated circuit chip diagnosis, spintronic devices, nanomanipulation, and magnetic/electric field imaging of surfaces.

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