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Technology

Universal Surface Scanner Detected 104

mcgrew writes to tell us that scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have created a new system that can test any surface for just about anything. "Their idea uses a thin layer of metal drilled with nanoscale holes, laid onto the surface being tested. When the perforated plate is zapped with laser light, the surface plasmons that form emit light with a frequency related to the materials touching the plate. A sensitive light detector is needed to measure the frequency of light given off. The team says devices using this approach can be small and portable, will work on very low power, and could detect everything from explosives to bacteria. All that needs to be done now is build a system able to decode the light signatures."
Biotech

First Image Taken With an Ultra Low Field MRI 189

KentuckyFC writes "MRI machines are about to get smaller, much smaller. Most of their bulk is taken up by the huge superconducting magnets required to generate fields of a few Teslas. Now a team at the Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico has built a machine that can produce images using a field of only a few microTesla (PDF, abstract here). So giant superconducting magnets aren't necessary, a development that has the potential to make MRI machines much smaller, perhaps even suitcase-sized. The one-page paper shows sections of the first 3D brain image taken with the device."

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