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Diamond-embedded nanocoil Hai lab
April 10, 2024

Diamond-embedded nanocoils improve magnetic field detection

Written By: Tom Ziemer

Neural engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a unique diamond-embedded, nanofabricated coil that expands their growing toolkit of noninvasive devices and methods for better monitoring and stimulating the brain.

In a paper in the journal Microsystems and Nanoengineering, published by Springer Nature, members of Assistant Professor Aviad Hai’s lab outline their process for producing the coil, which detects electromagnetic fields, and embedding it in a particular type of diamond substrate. By doing so, the group created a platform for converting those electromagnetic fields into optical signals, which can then be leveraged for imaging and stimulation techniques.

Aviad Hai and Ilhan Bok
Aviad Hai (left) and Ilhan Bok

And by making slight adjustments during the nanofabrication process, the researchers demonstrated how they can easily alter the space between each loop of the coil, allowing them—or other groups replicating the method—to tailor it for individual use cases.

“The most significant outcome of this project is the ability to customize these coils and, therefore, customize their functionality in a lab setting,” says Ilhan Bok, lead author of the paper and a PhD student in electrical and computer engineering. “For example, for sensing fields or for biological stimulation.”

In a blog post further explaining the significance of the work, Bok writes, “Our technology lays the foundation for broadly applicable on-chip electromagneto-optical sensing and modulation and establishes a highly reproducible and rapid synthesis easily accessible to other groups.”

Aviad Hai is a Vilas Early Career Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, part of the Wisconsin Institute for Translational Neuroengineering and an affiliate of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Other UW-Madison authors include staff scientist Alireza Ashtiani (PhDEE ’16); Yash Gokhale (BMEMS ’23); Jack Phillips, a PhD student in biomedical engineering; and Tianxiang Zhu, a PhD student in electrical and computer engineering.

The research was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the Office of the Director’s Common Fund at the National Institutes of Health (grant DP2NS122605) and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (grant K01EB027184).