It may possibly glance like a weird bicycle helmet, or a piece of equipment observed in Doc Brown’s lab in Again to the Future, still this gadget created of plastic and copper wire is a technological breakthrough with the probable to revolutionize health-related imaging. Even with its playful glimpse, the machine is actually a metamaterial, packing in a ton of physics, engineering, and mathematical know-how.
It was designed by Xin Zhang, a School of Engineering professor of mechanical engineering, and her workforce of scientists at BU’s Photonics Middle. They’re specialists in metamaterials, a variety of engineered construction produced from compact unit cells that could possibly be unspectacular by itself, but when grouped with each other in a specific way, get new superpowers not observed in mother nature. Metamaterials, for occasion, can bend, take up, or manipulate waves — these as electromagnetic waves, audio waves, or radio waves. Every device mobile, also termed a resonator, is typically organized in a repeating sample in rows and columns they can be intended in unique sizes and styles, and positioned at diverse orientations, depending on which waves they are intended to impact.
Metamaterials can have numerous novel features. Zhang, who is also a professor of electrical and computer engineering, biomedical engineering, and supplies science and engineering, has built an acoustic metamaterial that blocks sound without stopping airflow (visualize quieter jet engines and air conditioners) and a magnetic metamaterial that can boost the quality of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines used for health care analysis.
Now, Zhang and her group have taken their get the job done a move more with the wearable metamaterial. The dome-formed product, which suits about a person’s head and can be worn during a mind scan, boosts MRI performance, developing crisper photos that can be captured at two times the typical velocity.
The helmet is fashioned from a sequence of magnetic metamaterial resonators, which are produced from 3D-printed plastic tubes wrapped in copper wiring, grouped on an array, and specifically organized to channel the magnetic discipline of the MRI device. Inserting the magnetic metamaterial — in helmet sort or as the at first designed flat array — near the section of the system to be scanned, says Zhang, could make MRIs considerably less high-priced and extra time economical for medical doctors, radiologists, and individuals — all when strengthening picture good quality.
Eventually, the magnetic metamaterial has the potential to be employed in conjunction with less costly low-discipline MRI equipment to make the technology extra greatly out there, particularly in the building planet.
Components presented by Boston University. Original written by Jessica Colarossi. Notice: Content may be edited for model and duration.