The group nanoNMRI is involved in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Imaging for the study of living systems. NMR and MRI are heavily used in biochemistry, agronomy, biology and diagnosis in medicine. They are based on the detection of radio-frequencies (RF) originating from polarized nuclear spins. Our project concerns a new strategy to detect these RF in the near field of the object of interest and to evaluate this new approach to the study of living systems. In the light of these potential developments, one expect unprecedented spatial, time and spectral resolutions leading to accurate understanding of physical, chemical and biological interplays existing in an ensemble or individual living cells. Our approach is based on the scaling down of the RF antenna, in a first step to micrometer with the use of a micro cantilever and in a second step by taking advantage of the exceptional mechanical and electronic properties of one carbon nanotube (NT) fixed at the end of a microcoaxial tip. Hyperlocalyzed NMR spectroscopy will be possible from nuclear spins located around the tiny antenna. With the help of an accurate control of the positioning of the RF probe, MRI will be performed to sub-micronic scales by collecting spectral information like line shifts, line intensities, and relaxations in correlation with the displacements. The detection of hyper localized NMR signals from living systems will be of great interest to better understand the biological, physical and chemical mechanisms and thus open new routes for diagnosis and therapeutic treatments. In the present project, the development of a micro/nano NMR probe will improve the sensitivity and the time-space resolution of the measured parameters in order to study the localization, the occurrence and/or disappearance of biological markers involved in physiological or pathophysiological phenomena.
Collaborations : E. Nativel (IES, Montpellier), P. Stein (Odense), A. Bertin and M. Génard (INRA Avignon), M. Gaviria and A. Privat (Neureva company, Montpellier), R. Schimpf (RS2 company, Strasbourg)
Fundings : CNRS PIR “nanoNMRI” project (2008-2010), Siemens CIFRE (2007-2010), ARPE Languedoc-Roussillon (2008-2010), RTRA virtual fruit Agropolis (2009-2011), BQR UM2 (2009)