Diamonds are a lab’s best friend

first_imgIt’s one of the purest and most versatile materials in the world, with uses in everything from jewelry to industrial abrasives to quantum science. But a group of Harvard scientists has uncovered a new use for diamonds: tracking neural signals in the brain.Using atomic-scale quantum defects in diamonds known as nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers to detect the magnetic field generated by neural signals, scientists working in the lab of Ronald Walsworth, a faculty member in Harvard’s Center for Brain Science and Physics Department, demonstrated a noninvasive technique that can image the activity of neurons.The work was described in a recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and was performed in collaboration with Harvard faculty members Mikhail (Misha) Lukin and Hongkun Park.“The idea of using NV centers for sensing neuron magnetic fields began with the initial work of Ron Walsworth and Misha Lukin about 10 years ago, but for a long time our back-of-the-envelope calculations made it seem that the fields would be too small to detect, and the technology wasn’t there yet,” said Jennifer Schloss, a Ph.D. student and co-author of the study.“This paper is really the first step to show that measuring magnetic fields from individual neurons can be done in a scalable way,” said Ph.D. student and fellow co-author Matthew Turner. “We wanted to be able to model the signal characteristics, and say, based on theory, ‘This is what we expect to see.’ Our experimental results were consistent with these expectations. This predictive ability is important for understanding more complicated neuronal networks.”At the heart of the system developed by Schloss and Turner, together with postdoctoral scientist John Barry, is a tiny — just 4-by-4 millimeters square and half a millimeter thick — wafer of diamond impregnated with trillions of NV centers.The system works, Schloss and Turner explained, because the magnetic fields generated by signals traveling in a neuron interact with the electrons in the NV centers, subtly changing their quantum “spin” state. The diamond wafer is bathed in microwaves, which put the NV electrons in a mixture of two spin states. A neuron magnetic field then causes a change in the fraction of spins in one of the two states. Using a laser constrained to the diamond, the researchers can detect this fraction, reading out the neural signal as an optical image, without light entering the biological sample.In addition to demonstrating that the system works for dissected neurons, Schloss, Turner, and Barry showed that NV sensors could be used to sense neural activity in live, intact marine worms.“We realized we could just put the whole animal on the sensor and still detect the signal, so it’s completely noninvasive,” Turner said. “That’s one reason using magnetic fields offers an advantage over other methods. If you measure voltage- or light-based signals in traditional ways, biological tissue can distort those signals. With magnetic fields, though the signal gets smaller with stand-off distance, the information is preserved.”Schloss, Turner, and Barry were also able to show that the neural signals traveled more slowly from the worm’s tail to its head than from head to tail, and their magnetic field measurements matched predictions of this difference in conduction velocity.While the study proves that NV centers can be used to detect neural signals, Turner said the initial experiments were designed to tackle the most accessible approach to the problem, using robust neurons that produce especially large magnetic fields. The team is already working to further refine the system, with an eye toward improving its sensitivity and pursuing applications to frontier problems in neuroscience. To sense signals from smaller mammalian neurons, Schloss explained, they intend to implement a pulsed magnetometry scheme to realize up to 300 times better sensitivity per volume. The next step, said Turner, is implementing a high-resolution imaging system in hopes of producing real-time, optical images of neurons as they fire.“We’re looking at imaging networks of neurons over long durations, up to days,” said Schloss. “We hope to use this to understand not just the physical connectivity between neurons, but the functional connectivity — how the signals actually propagate to inform how neural circuits operate over the long term.”“No tool that exists today can tell us everything we want to know about neuronal activity or be applied to all systems of interest,” Turner said. “This quantum diamond technology lays out a new direction for addressing some of these challenges. Imaging neuron magnetic fields is a largely unexplored area due to previous technological limitations.”The hope, Schloss said, is that the tool might one day find a home in the labs of biomedical researchers or anyone interested in understanding brain activity.“We want to understand the brain from the single-neuron level all the way up, so we envision that this could become a tool useful both in biophysics labs and in medical studies,” she said. “It’s noninvasive and fast, and the optical readout could allow for a variety of applications, from studying neurodegenerative diseases to monitoring drug delivery in real time.”Walsworth credits the leadership of Josh Sanes, the Paul J. Finnegan Family Director of the center, and Kenneth Blum, executive director, for enabling this biological application of quantum diamond technology. “Center for Brain Science leadership provided the essential lab space and a welcoming, interdisciplinary community,” he said. “This special environment allows physical scientists and engineers to translate quantum technology into neuroscience.”last_img read more

Feline photobombers: Are these real estate photos purr-fect or a cat-astrophe?

first_imgNap time.Ms Bagnall said the feedback from the listing, and its two feline models, had been positive.“We are such an animal loving society so maybe we should be doing more of it,” she said. The owner was happy that her two cats were in the photos, and Ms Bagnall said it helped show that the home was ideal for pet lovers. The home is fully fenced with a large backyard ideal for animals to roam free. Peek-A-Boo.Harcourts Solutions sales agent Jamila Bagnall said it was never the intention of the photographer to feature the cats in the final shots. “The cats just started walking around and doing their own thing,” Ms Bagnall said. More from newsNew apartments released at idyllic retirement community Samford Grove Presented by Parks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus21 hours ago“They were not afraid of what was happening, they thought it was all about them, as cats do.”After some frustrations, they decided to work with reality and keep the cats in a few of the photos. 16 Howard Street, GaythorneIT was supposed to be just another real estate photoshoot, but two mischievous felines had other ideas. A three-bedroom home at 16 Howard St, Gaythorne is set to go under the hammer next month, and if you look at the promotional photos you will notice something strange.The current owner’s two pet cats, Vegas and Lincoln, feature prominently in a number of the final shots.center_img Perfect backyard for furry friends.The owner also has two pet dogs, but unlike Vegas and Lincoln, they behaved and stayed out of the photos. The home will be auctioned on Saturday, March 3 at 11amlast_img read more

Tyson Fury out to emulate Klitschko

first_imgTyson Fury plans to keep on boxing for as long as he enjoys it as he hinted he could emulate Vladimir Klitschko’s long dominance of the heavyweight scene.Klitschko was undisputed world champion for more than four years until Fury knocked him off his perch in 2015. Fury never defended his four titles amid mental health problems but he bounced back in stunning fashion and wants to stay at the top after regaining his WBC belt in February with an emphatic win over Deontay Wilder, who he is due to face again after the coronavirus crisis eases.The 31-year-old told Sky Sports: “I’ve won every single belt in boxing.“From the English title to becoming the undisputed heavyweight champ of the world.“All done, all finished.“Considered the best, done. “If I don’t box again, I’m happy, but if I do box again, then I continue to box.“If we get past this thing, which hopefully we will, then we’re going to keep boxing and just keep taking on contenders.“Klitschko did it until he was 40.“A lot of the great champions are continuing, and continuing.“I ain’t boxing for money, I ain’t boxing for fame, I ain’t boxing for a belt. “I’m boxing because it keeps me mentally happy and I like to do it.”Fury, who is set to face Anthony Joshua, possibly over two fights, after fulfilling his contractual obligations for a third fight with Wilder, added: “Nothing to prove to anybody.“Not one thing to prove at all, but I box now, because I love boxing and I’ve been doing it all my life.“Why walk away when I’m still only young?”RelatedPosts Tyson Fury to Anthony Joshua: Don’t risk fighting Usyk Anthony Joshua wants Tyson Fury, Wilder fight Joshua: Tyson Fury won’t distract me Tags: BOXINGHeavyweightsLongevityTyson FuryVladimir Klitschkolast_img read more

Men’s water polo faces No. 10 Pepperdine tonight

first_imgThe No. 2 USC men’s water polo team (20-2, 4-2) will dive into the McDonald’s Swim Stadium pool for the last time this season tonight in a 5 p.m. conference match against No. 10 Pepperdine (9-12, 1-5).Although the game is a conference matchup, seeding will not be at stake as the Trojans’ earlier 13-4 win against the Waves was already counted toward the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings. Cal has, for all intents and purposes, sewn up the No. 1 seed with an undefeated MPSF record and a win over USC, but the No. 2 seed is still up for grabs as Stanford only has a one-game lead over the Trojans, who are currently entrenched in third place.In order to make such a move a possibility, however, the Trojans must first sweep their remaining MPSF games after Pepperdine.Aiming for the top – Sophomore driver Michael Rosenthal hopes the Trojans haven’t peaked yet as they play their last home game of the season today and get ready for the MPSF and NCAA playoffs. – Katelynn Whitaker | Daily Trojan“Seeding is very important to us, but I don’t think we have a realistic chance to be No. 1,” USC coach Jovan Vavic said. “Berkeley would have to lose three games for us to be in front of them, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. There’s a possibility to be No. 2, but that’s out of our control.”What this game will count toward, as always, is NCAA rankings. Despite sporting a sub-.500 winning percentage, the Waves are still ranked in the top-10 team — a commentary on the relative strength of the MPSF compared to other NCAA water polo conferences.Vavic identified the Waves’ outside shooters as a key area of focus for his team, as the Trojans will try to contain an offense that has averaged 9.52 goals per game.“They’re pretty strong on the outside shooting with (Nate) Castillo and Danny White,” Vavic said. “We have to be careful about the matchups to make sure that we don’t give up easy shots from some of their really good outside shooters.”Pepperdine sophomores James Perry and Spencer Hamby will also test the Trojans’ strength in the two-meters, as they, along with Castillo and White, are offensive leaders for the Waves.Coming off perhaps their most impressive and emotional win of the season, the Trojans cannot afford any letdowns for the rest of the season. They are peaking at an opportune time, but must sustain a high level of play.“The win against UCLA was huge, but in the big picture, it’s just one more step toward our ultimate goal,” redshirt sophomore driver Michael Rosenthal said. “We’re still trying to get better, obviously. I hope we haven’t peaked yet because we have to be at our best to succeed in the postseason.”Not to be forgotten amid the playoff discussion is that today will be the last opportunity for USC students to see their Trojans play live, as the MPSF and NCAA championships will be hosted by Stanford and Cal, respectively.As for why fans should come out to cheer on the Trojans today, Rosenthal provided several reasons.“For UCLA we had a crazy crowd and it really fired us up,” he said. “It’s our last home game of the year, we’ve won back-to-back national championships and it’ll be worth watching. It’s our seniors’ last home game and it would be awesome to send them off well.”last_img read more


first_imgDETAILS have been released of the finals of the GAA For All Letterkenny area primary schools finals today, Wednesday.The matches were postponed before Easter due to the weather, but they will go ahead this morning and this afternoon in O’Donnell Park with the showpiece finals in memory of two GAA greats who dedicated their lives to sport – Elaine Winston Friel and Susan Carr.In a message to the schools, Odhran Doherty from GAA For ALL writes: On behalf of everyone involved the GAA for All PEACE III Project I want to thank you sincerely for taking part in the Schools league for the past four weeks, without your help and cooperation it would be impossible to run such a huge event. I hope that you and all the children enjoyed the games and used the league as an opportunity to meet new friends and colleagues from the other schools. It is important to remember that the idea of this league was to celebrate the lives of two great local women from the Letterkenny area, Elaine Winston Friel and Susan Carr who spent their lives promoting the values and benefits of participating in sport and having an active lifestyle. I hope that our coaching programme in your school and your participation in the schools league has provided your children with a platform to take part in Sport and Physical Activity. I hope you all enjoy the day and good luck to your teams!Yours in Sport,Odhran DohertyBOYS: Elaine Winston Friel Memorial Cup Final (12:20 PM)  Termon V LurgybrackGIRLS: Susan Carr Memorial Cup Final (11:30 AM)Gaelscoil Adhamhnain V Scoil Mhuire Gan SmalBOYS: GAA for All Cup Final       (12:20 PM) Scoil Colmcille v Gaelscoil GIRLS: GAA for All Cup Final (11:30 AM)    Lurgybrack v TermonBOYS: GAA for All Shield Final (12:20PM) Woodlands v Kilmacrennan GIRLS: GAA for All Shield Final (11:30 AM)Illistrin v WoodlandsBOYS: GAA for All Plate Final    Play-Off (10:45 AM) Illistrin v GlenswillyGIRLS GAA for All Plate Final Play-Off (10:45 AM)Ballyraine v Glenswilly   BOYS: Final       (12:20PM) Ballyraine/Glenswilly or IllistrinGIRLS Final (11:30 AM)Ballyraine/Glenswilly or KilmacrennanPLEASE NOTE;The playoff match for both the boys and girls GAA for ALL Plate Final will take place at 10:45 am. All the girls final will be played at 11:30 am while all the boy’s finals will be played at 12:20 pm. Presentations of medals to all participants in the league as well as the cups to the winners of the finals for both boys and girls will be presented at 1:00 pm by representatives from the Friel, Winston, Carr and Mc Granaghan families as well as local representatives.RULES–        30 minutes per game, 15 minutes per half. 2 minute turn around at half time.–        11 a side per team, no limit to substitutions, run on and off.–        Maximum two touch before releasing the ball, e.g. solo & bounce or two solos.–        Kick outs 10 metres from goals from hands–        45’s from the ground or hands 25 metres from the goals–        1 point is awarded for a point and 3 points for a goal– ALL PLAYERS MUST WEAR A MOUTHGUARD WHILE PLAYING–        All players and coaches must line up and shake hands at the end of each gameGAA FOR ALL: ELAINE AND SUSAN TO BE REMEMBERED IN TODAY’S SCHOOLS FINALS was last modified: April 9th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:GAA FOR ALL: ELAINE AND SUSAN TO BE REMEMBERED IN TODAY’S SCHOOLS FINALSlast_img read more