University News

Physics Colloquium on New Progress in Medical Technology

February 8, 2006

Share |
Printer friendly version

MACOMB, IL - Western Illinois University’s physics department will host a colloquium featuring Igor M. Savukov, research associate at Princeton University, on “Experiments With Ultra-sensitive Atomic Magnetometers: From Fundamental Symmetry Tests to NMR Detection” at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb.10 in Currens Hall 205.

Savukov received his Ph. D. in 2002 from the University of Notre Dame. Despite his young career, he has an impressive record of publications and experience in teaching. His development of inexpensive super-sensitive magnetometers made headlines in Science Magazine and BBC News.

SavukovÂ’s research could benefit the medical field in several ways. There are few methods that can be used to measure the extremely weak signals of the human bodyÂ’s electromagnetic field. According to Savukov, high-density alkali-metal atomic magnetometers are not only more sensitive than other ways of detection, but they also allow low-cost operation because they do not require cryogenic cooling. The use of atomic magnetometers can lower the cost of everything from fundamental symmetry tests, to tests like MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) and NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) detection.

“Recently, we detected the smallest number of xenon nuclei with NMR method using a K-Xe co-magnetometer. Such extremely sensitive detection can be used in applications that are particularly helpful in biomedical imaging of lungs,” he said.

By extending atomic magnetometers from DC to MHz frequencies in their most recent experiments, Savukov and his colleagues believe that the magnetometers can eventually be used in NQR (nuclear quadrupole resonance) detection of explosives and narcotics.

This colloquium is open free to the public. For more information on this and future presentations, visit

Posted By: University Communications (
Office of University Communications & Marketing