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The Degen Lab

Nanoscale magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy
Spin physics and Nanomechanics

Nano-MRI title image
Cross-section of Dr. Degen's head recorded in a clinical MRI apparatus Cross-section of two virus particles on top of a molecular surface layer
at 1,000,000x magnified scale recorded in an MRFM apparatus


Ben and Kevin win an NSF graduate fellowship - Congratulations!

Degen Group moving to ETH: In late Spring of 2011, the Degen Group will begin moving to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) in Zurich, Switzerland. Christian accepted a new Professorship in Condensed Matter Physics. Postdoctoral and Ph.D. positions are available.

Research: At the Degen lab we invent, build and operate tools for detecting weak magnetic signals at very small lengthscales. Our goal is to apply these tools for the following purposes:

  • Study of nanoscale spin physics, quantum effects, and other fundamental physical phenomena that become important at these small scales (in condensed matter and quantum physics)
  • Nanoscale MRI imaging of single biological objects 1-100 nm in size (in structural biology)
  • Chemical analysis of heterogeneous surfaces with nanometer resolution using NMR spectroscopy (in surface science)
Techniques: Magnetic signals from spins in nanometer-sized samples are typically extremely small. Our lab currently specializes on two experimental techniques that have the necessary sensitivity to examine these signals. In Magnetic Resonance Force Microscopy (MRFM), we use force microscopy to measure spins mechanicaly via a magnetic force. In recently invented Scanning Diamond Magnetometry, we attempt to detect the same minute magnetic fields optically and under ambient conditions, using the single spin of a diamond nitrogen-vacancy (NV) defect as the microscopes sensor. Along the way of improving the sensitivity of our instrumentation, we also hope to make exciting new physical discoveries. Read more...
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