My line of work of is in the field of magnetic resonance, mainly Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). Magnetic resonance is one of the most versatile fields of science, with applications ranging from chemical structure determination to medical imaging, and quantum information processing. Despite the fact that magnetic resonance was discovered over 60 years ago, and magnetic resonance imaging is more than 30 years old, there is still “plenty of room down there” for new methodologies, approaches, and applications. For example, magnetic resonance is known to be a very insensitive technique that requires relatively large amounts of material for spectroscopic evaluation. Our group is trying to resolve this drawback through the use of new types of detection methods. For example, we develop sensitive miniature ESR resonators that operate at a wide range of temperatures and frequencies. From another aspect, magnetic resonance imaging has currently limited spatial resolution in the order of several microns. Currently, our group has already achieved sub-micron scale resolution with ESR imaging, and is looking into methods and means to improve the resolution to the deep sub-micron level at low temperatures and high magnetic fields (see figure).
Yet another area of enormous potential, which is currently still at its infancy, is in the field of quantum information processing (or quantum computers). Here magnetic resonance was used successfully to demonstrate various quantum data processing algorithms, but only with a few quantum bits. In that respect we are looking into methods to greatly enhance this capability and to enable the realization of a practical magnetic resonance quantum computer with ultra sensitive ESR. In the field of NMR and ESR, we are developing techniques for “ex-situ” probes, where the sample is located outside the magnet (contrary to inside the magnet in conventional systems). This is very useful for materials science and medical applications. The laboratory infrastructure includes four electromagnets, homemade ESR and NMR spectrometer systems and a variety of RF and microwave test and measurement equipment.
Aharon Blank is an associate Prof. at the Schiluch Faculty of Chemistry, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Born in 1972, graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1992 with degrees in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry; Completed his Master degree at Tel Aviv University in 1997 in electrical engineering – Physical electronics under the supervision of Prof. Raphael Kastner and finished his PhD in 2002 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Physical Chemistry – Electron Spin Resonance (ESR), under the supervision of the late Prof. Haim Levanon. During this time he served 9 years in the IAF as a Scientific Officer and also as a CTO in a medical device company, developing miniature intravascular MRI. Following his PhD he spent 3 years at Cornell University as a Post Doc at the group of Prof. Jack Freed (on a Rothschild post-doctoral fellowship ), developing the subject of ESR microscopy, and since 2005 he is a Faculty member at the Technion. Aharon main interests today are development and applications of new methodologies in the field of magnetic resonance. His group works on miniature sensitive ESR resonators; small, self contained NMR and ESR medical tools; and ESR probes for micro and nano imaging. He is the author of more than 50 papers and 6 patents and received the E.D Bergmann Memorial, Award (Awarded by the United States – Israel Binational Foundation); the Yigal Alon Fellowship (Award by the Council for Higher Education in Israel); and was selected among the first 200 grantees of the first ERC (European Research Council) starting research grant for young investigators (in all fields of natural and social sciences).
- Bachar, G., Suchoi1, O., Shtempluck, O., Blank, A., and Buks, E., “Nonlinear induction detection of electron spin resonance,” Applied Physics Letters101 (2012) 022602.
- Blank, A. “Masers made easy,” invited News & Views, Nature488 (2012) 285.
- Kissos, I., Levit, M., Feuer, A. and Blank, A. “Statistical Reconstruction Algorithms for Continuous Wave Electron Spin Resonance Imaging,”Journal of Magnetic Resonance231 (2013) 100–116. Featured on the cover of the Journal.
- Dikarov, E., Shklyar, R., Twig, Y. and Blank, A. “Induction-Detection Electron Spin Resonance with Sensitivity of 1000 Spins: En Route to Scalable Quantum Computations” Physics LettersA377 (2013) 1937-1942.
- Blank, A., “Scheme for a spin-based quantum computer employing induction detection and imaging” – Quantum Information processing12 (2013) 2993-3006.
- Dikarov, E., Shklyar, R., and Blank, A., “New Approach for Measuring Migration Properties of Point Defects in Amorphous Oxides, Physica Status Solidi (a)211 (2014) 2177–2183.
- Wolfson, H., Ahmad, R., Twig, Y., Kuppusamy, P., and Blank, A., “A Miniature Electron Spin Resonance Probehead for Transcutaneous Oxygen Monitoring,” Appl. Mag. Res. 45 (2014) 955–967.
- Woflson, H., Ahmad, R., Twig, Y., Williams, B. and Blank, A., “A magnetic resonance probehead for evaluating the level of ionizing radiation absorbed in human teeth,” Health Physics Journal108, (2015)326-35.Featured on the cover of the journal.
- Katz, I., Fehr, M., Schnegg, A., Lips, K., and Blank, A., “High Resolution In-Operando Microimaging of Solar Cells with Pulsed Electrically-Detected Magnetic Resonance,” Journal of Magnetic resonance251, (2015) 26–35.
- Blank, A., Shapiro, G., Fischer, R., London, P., and Gershoni, D., “Optically Detected Magnetic Resonance Imaging,” Applied Physics Letters 106, (2015) 034102.
- Artzi, Y., Twig, Y., and Blank, A., “Induction-detection electron spin resonance with spin sensitivity of a few tens of spins,” Applied Physics Letters 106, (2015) 084104.
- Hashem, M., Weiler-Sagie, M., Kuppusamy, P., Neufeld, G., Neeman, M., and Blank, A. “Electron Spin Resonance Microscopic Imaging of Oxygen Concentration in Cancer Spheroids,” Journal of Magnetic Resonance 256, (2015) 77-85.
- Katz, I., Blank, A., “Dynamic Nuclear Polarization in Solid Samples by Electrical-Discharge-Induced Radicals,” Journal of Magnetic Resonance261, (2015), 95-100.