A joint research group of the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, Japan Superconductor Technology Co., Ltd., National Institute for Materials Science, JEOL RESONANCE Co., Ltd., and Chiba University has developed a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) device using a new superconducting wire to measure proteins. Was successful. NMR is an indispensable device for investigating the structure of substances, but it seems that it can be expected to be compact.
NMR is a device that examines the structure of molecules by applying a strong magnetic field to a substance.For example, by examining the proteins of living organisms, it is possible to infer the action of medicines in the body.A strong electromagnet is required to generate a strong magnetic field, and superconducting magnets are used there.The problem with conventional superconducting magnets is that they inevitably become large.For example, the highest level equipment weighs as much as 4 tons with an electromagnet alone.It was expected that miniaturization and high performance would be possible if this could be made with rare earth high-temperature superconductors.However, the problem of turbulence in the magnetic field remained.
The hint for the solution was MRI, which is used in the medical field, and is a device that operates on the same principle. There was a problem that the magnetic field was disturbed even in MRI, but the disturbance is canceled by arranging a large number of pieces of iron, which is a magnetic material, around the person to be inspected.On the other hand, NMR has a smaller measurement target than humans, and MRI technology could not be used as it is.Therefore, the group succeeded in canceling the disturbance of the magnetic field by adjusting the shape and arrangement using a small number of small iron sheets.
It is attracting attention that the technology developed this time will be an important breakthrough in developing higher performance NMR equipment.The weight of the magnet is expected to be reduced by about 2 tons, and it is possible to generate a uniform and strong magnetic field.It is expected that such advances in NMR technology will accelerate the development of new drugs.