Advances towards more “human” magnetoencephalography temperatures

Categorie(s) : Innovation & Society, News, Research

Published : 7 June 2021

Magnetoencephalography (MEG), a functional brain imaging technique, uses SQUIDs cooled to 4 K and placed at a certain distance from the patient’s cranium. Alternatively, alkaline-based sensors heated to 150 °C and also placed at a certain distance from the patient, are used. CEA-Leti has come up with a third way: sensors that use helium-4 gas excited to a metastable state as their sensing element. The advantage is that these sensors operate at room temperature and can therefore be placed in contact with the cranium, very near the signal to be detected. An initial prototype made up of five sensors was developed and tested at two university hospitals. The results were published in Optics Express.

This technology is easier to install, use, and maintain, which could help bring high-end imaging to the masses. Startup Mag4Health was founded to develop and commercialize the solution.


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