09 August 2022

Scientists from Russia and Slovakia are working on the creation of a highly sensitive sensor that will help search for nano- and microdefects in industrial products and conduct high-precision medical analyzes and monitoring, writes the press service of the Leaders of Russia contest. The Russian team of the project is headed by the finalist of the track "Science" of the fourth season of the competition "Leaders of Russia" – the flagship project of the presidential platform "Russia – the Land of Opportunities" – Director of the Scientific and Educational Centre "Smart Materials and Biomedical Applications" Valeria Rodionova.

Outwardly, the sensor will resemble a DVD disc, but only much smaller: from 3x3 mm to 10x10 mm. In this case, the minimum scanning area will be a circle with a diameter of 5 to 50 micrometres, which is thinner than a human hair.

“For example, a person had a broken bone, and it was fastened with an implant, which contains a magnetic material. Our sensor will allow you to track the smallest changes or violations of the structure, without using X-rays. Or if we suppose that a patient needs to do a blood test for 5–8 indicators. Now for this they will take a few milliliters of blood and will gradually conduct research. Our development makes it possible to perform all tests in one go and use 1,000 times less blood,” said Valeria Rodionova.

The project to create a sensor for variable and constant magnetic fields with optical signal reading is designed for three years. From the Russian side, the Scientific and Educational Centre "Smart Materials and Biomedical Applications" of the IKBFU (Kaliningrad), from Slovakia – Pavel Josef Šafarik University (Košice). Each of the partners will invest about five million rubles a year in joint development. From Russia, funding is provided by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, from foreign colleagues – by the Slovak Research and Development Agency.

“The project team consists of seven people from each state, mostly young scientists. The Russian team is focused on modeling, research and analysis of magnetic, optical and magneto-optical properties of materials. In this we are assisted by the head of the department of magnetism of M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University Nikolai Perov and NUST MISiS Professor Larisa Panina, Valeria Rodionova clarified. – Experts in the field of low-dimensional magnets, spin clusters and nanostructured materials are participating from Slovakia. Among them are such well-known scientists as Vladimir Komanitsky, Eric Chizhmar, Robert Tarasenko, Vladimir Tkach. We have been working together for a long time and we have a good relationship. The current geopolitical situation makes interaction a little more difficult, for example, it is more difficult to send experimental samples between countries, but nevertheless, work continues according to the established and agreed schedule.”

She said that the youth of Kaliningrad will also be involved in scientific research: “Students and schoolchildren will be able to take part in conducting experimental research, modeling, processing and analyzing the data obtained. Enough tasks for everyone! Valeria Rodionova recalled that by creating a magnetic field sensor, IKBFU scientists and M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University have been studying for nine years. The idea of the current project belongs to Viktor Belyaev, who heads the laboratory of magneto-optical research at the Centre for “Smart Materials and Biomedical Applications”.

“To carry out some experiments, we will need scientific equipment that is available in Slovakia, so we turned to foreign colleagues with a proposal to work together. And in February 2022, we received a grant from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation for these purposes,” Viktor Belyaev specified.

In 2020, IKBFU scientists have already developed and patented a permanent magnetic field sensor based on a magnetoplasmonic crystal. Now the international team has to expand the functionality of this invention and add the ability to measure variable fields.

“The constant field sensor is needed to detect the smallest defects in metal products and monitor the condition of medical implants. And variable fields are suitable for magnetocardiography, that is, diagnosing heart diseases in the early stages,” said Valeria Rodionova.

She also clarified that the intellectual rights to the results of the project, which the researchers will receive in 2024, will be divided between Russia and Slovakia according to the contribution of the parties.

In the fourth season of the “Leaders of Russia” competition for managers, more than six thousand applications from all over the country were submitted to participate in the “Science” track: 33 people became the winners of the track, 18 made it to the superfinal, nine of them were among the winners of the competition in May 2022