• Award to Advance low-cost Portable Spectroscopic Devices
    Danila Barskiy

News & Views

Award to Advance low-cost Portable Spectroscopic Devices

Oct 07 2020

A team of researchers focusing on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) are set to explore approaches that do not require magnetic fields for chemical, biological and medical applications. Dr. Danila Barskiy, who has recently joined JGU from the University of California Berkeley to lead the new project has been awarded a Sofja Kovalevskaja Award worth EUR 1.6 million by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

"We are very pleased that Danila Barskiy and his research have been honoured in this way. His work not only covers new and previously unexplored aspects, but also excellently complements research we are already undertaking here in Mainz," said Professor Dmitry Budker, Barskiy's host at the Institute of Physics at JGU and at the Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM).

Barskiy's new interdisciplinary group will focus on developing miniaturised, portable NMR sensors employing the principle of zero to ultra-low field magnetic resonance, (ZULF NMR) using optically pumped magnetometers which would not require any strong magnetic fields.

His longer term view is also to develop hyperpolarizers for benchtop NMR spectrometers to improve the alignment of nuclear spins in a sample, thereby amplifying their NMR signals. The scientist predicts that application-specific hyperpolarizers for tabletop NMR devices may be soon available and that they will be about the size of a coffee machine. Such a device would enable highly sensitive analyses of fuels, biofluids such as blood or urine and food extracts. "This will democratize NMR spectroscopy by providing access to wider audiences and will accelerate technological progress in developing countries," Barskiy emphasized.

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