Los Alamos National Laboratory
"Applications of SQUIDs: from brains to bombs"
Abstract: This talk will present an overview of applications of the Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID) for the detection of ultra-weak magnetic fields of biological and non-biological origin. The SQUID is arguably the most sensitive magnetic flux detector, capable of detecting magnetic fields nine orders of magnitude smaller than the magnetic field of the earth. SQUIDs are sensitive enough to detect the magnetic field from neurons firing in the brain from outside the head. I will present some background on how SQUIDs work, including a discussion of Weinstock's Law, that is, "Never use a SQUID unless you have to". I will describe specific applications to functional brain imaging, detection of the magnetic resonance signature of nuclei at very weak (even zero) magnetic fields, and how this technique can be used for both imaging and detection of explosives or other materials of interest.