A nanoliter volume nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) system using tunneling magneto-resistive (TMR) sensors to recognize biomolecules

Pablo Gomez, Florida International University


The need to incorporate advanced engineering tools in biology, biochemistry and medicine is in great demand. Many of the existing instruments and tools are usually expensive and require special facilities. With the advent of nanotechnology in the past decade, new approaches to develop devices and tools have been generated by academia and industry. One such technology, NMR spectroscopy, has been used by biochemists for more than 2 decades to study the molecular structure of chemical compounds. However, NMR spectrometers are very expensive and require special laboratory rooms for their proper operation. High magnetic fields with strengths in the order of several Tesla make these instruments unaffordable to most research groups. This doctoral research proposes a new technology to develop NMR spectrometers that can operate at field strengths of less than 0.5 Tesla using an inexpensive permanent magnet and spin dependent nanoscale magnetic devices. This portable NMR system is intended to analyze samples as small as a few nanoliters. The main problem to resolve when downscaling the variables is to obtain an NMR signal with high Signal-To-Noise-Ratio (SNR). A special Tunneling Magneto-Resistive (TMR) sensor design was developed to achieve this goal. The minimum specifications for each component of the proposed NMR system were established. A complete NMR system was designed based on these minimum requirements. The goat was always to find cost effective realistic components. The novel design of the NMR system uses technologies such as Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS), Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and a special Backpropagation Neural Network that finds the best match of the NMR spectrum. The system was designed, calculated and simulated with excellent results. In addition, a general method to design TMR Sensors was developed. The technique was automated and a computer program was written to help the designer perform this task interactively.

Subject Area

Electrical engineering|Biomedical research|Electromagnetism

Recommended Citation

Gomez, Pablo, "A nanoliter volume nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) system using tunneling magneto-resistive (TMR) sensors to recognize biomolecules" (2006). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3235931.