Neural Spintronics: Noninvasive Augmentation of Brain Functions

Stewart Barnes, Ioan Opris, Brian R. Noga, Sunxiang Huang, Fulin Zuo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Understanding the complexity of the brain ultimately requires insight into the decoding of local microcircuit functionality by noninvasive approaches. Recently, the new field of Spintronics is attracting a lot of attention with its noninvasive abilities to sense the magnetic field of neurons and to modulate their firing with spintronics devices. The two emerging tools are transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and magnetic encephalography (MEG). The proposed nano-TMS device will use magnetic nanowires—the electromagnetic coils’ nanoscale cousins—to generate focused and programmable magnetic fields. Preliminary theoretical calculations show that proposed devices can provide programmable, focused stimulation for noninvasive neuromodulation of neural microcircuits with unprecedented high spatial and temporal resolutions. The nano-MEG is based on a simple version of the magnetometer capable of imaging the neural connections in the brain. The proposed magnetometer will realize the simple quantum limit (SQL) of the ferromagnetic resonance (FMR) of a “YIG” oscillator and/or spin-torque nano-oscillators (STNO) using a phase-locked loop (PLL) synchronized to a quartz clock. This micro-to-nano-metric technology is comparable with silicon integrated circuits and promises a “laboratory on a chip” approach to MEG that permits millions of detectors to be used. The design is aimed at reducing the massive magnetic screening associated with the usual superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUID) or optically pumped magnetometers (OPM).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationContemporary Clinical Neuroscience
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameContemporary Clinical Neuroscience
ISSN (Print)2627-535X
ISSN (Electronic)2627-5341


  • FMR
  • Magnetic domain wall
  • MEG
  • Minicolumn
  • Neuron
  • Spintronics
  • TMS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Clinical Neurology


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