Force Detection of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

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Science  10 Jun 1994:
Vol. 264, Issue 5165, pp. 1560-1563
DOI: 10.1126/science.264.5165.1560


Micromechanical sensing of magnetic force was used to detect nuclear magnetic resonance with exceptional sensitivity and spatial resolution. With a 900 angstrom thick silicon nitride cantilever capable of detecting subfemtonewton forces, a single shot sensitivity of 1.6 x 1013 protons was achieved for an ammonium nitrate sample mounted on the cantilever. A nearby millimeter-size iron particle produced a 600 tesla per meter magnetic field gradient, resulting in a spatial resolution of 2.6 micrometers in one dimension. These results suggest that magnetic force sensing is a viable approach for enhancing the sensitivity and spatial resolution of nuclear magnetic resonance microimaging.