Bulk superconducting MgB2 magnets for biomedical applications

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a very widely used technique for medical diagnosis, but the current instruments based on superconducting solenoids are large and expensive. There are emerging designs for much smaller and cheaper instruments for knees, elbows, wrists etc based on bulk superconductors acting as permanent magnets. Permanent magnets also have potential applications in novel drug delivery systems. Magnesium diboride (MgB2) is a possible new material to use in this application. This project will focus on the fabrication of bulk MgB2 materials using Field Assisted Sintering Technology (FAST), which may offer significant benefits over conventional hot pressing. Working jointly in the Oxford Centre for Applied Superconductivity (www.cfas.ox.ac.uk) and the Processing of Advanced Materials group (http://users.ox.ac.uk/~pgrant), the student will be involved in powder processing of the precursor material, the design of processing conditions, and understanding the critical links between final microstructure and superconducting properties. In particular the processing of more complex shapes will be investigated, for example hollow tubes for small-scale MRI/NMR, in collaboration with industrial partners at Element Six and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering.

STEM/EDX image of YB4 (green) and MgO (blue) nanoparticles in MgB2 superconductor.

STEM/EDX image of YB4 (green) and MgO (blue) nanoparticles in MgB2 superconductor.


The description above outlines a possible new research project being offered to prospective new postgraduate students.

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