Compass Needle Oscillations
Science & Technology

Magnetic Resonance Explained by Simple Experiment

Picture exhibits oscillations of the compass needle within the subject of a fridge magnet. Credit score: Barsukov lab, UC Riverside

Physicists at College of California, Riverside, have designed an experiment to elucidate the idea of magnetic resonance. The venture was carried out by undergraduate college students in collaboration with native highschool lecturers.

A flexible method employed in chemistry, physics, and supplies analysis, magnetic resonance describes a resonant excitation of electron or atomic nuclei spins residing in a magnetic subject by technique of electromagnetic waves. Magnetic resonance additionally supplies the idea for magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI — the central noninvasive instrument in diagnostic drugs and medical analysis.

Photograph exhibits the experimental setup. Credit score: Barsukov lab, UC Riverside

“Two of my undergraduate college students developed the demonstration experiment primarily based on a compass, an object everyone can relate to,” mentioned Igor Barsukov, an assistant professor within the UC Riverside Division of Physics and Astronomy, who supervised the venture. 

Barsukov defined the compass is positioned in the course of a wire coil that’s fed with a small alternating voltage. A fridge magnet within the neighborhood of the compass aligns its needle. When the fridge magnet is introduced nearer to the compass, the needle begins to oscillate at a “candy spot.” When the magnet is moved away from the candy spot, the oscillation stops. This oscillation corresponds to magnetic resonance of the compass needle within the magnetic subject of the fridge magnet.

“Throughout outreach occasions for the broader public, individuals typically share with us their considerations about MRI procedures they should endure in a hospital,” Barsukov mentioned. “They affiliate it with radiation. We wished to design a hands-on, table-top experiment to alleviate their considerations and to supply a visible clarification for the underlying physics.”

Barsukov’s group initiated a collaboration with the Physics Trainer Academy, a UCR-based program offering coaching for native highschool lecturers, to make sure additionally it is appropriate for a high-school classroom

Igor Barsukov (proper) is seen right here with coauthor David Nelson, an undergraduate pupil in Barsukov’s lab at UC Riverside. Credit score: Barsukov lab, UC Riverside

“Shut interplay with the lecturers modified our perspective on what a superb demonstration experiment aimed toward bettering scientific literacy ought to be,” Barsukov mentioned. “We determined to make use of 3D-printing methods for the experimental setup and smartphone-based voltage mills. It reduces the time burden for instructors and makes the presentation extra accessible and interesting to college students.” 

The project was recently published in The Physics Trainer and introduced in early November 2019 within the academic part of Magnetism and Magnetic Supplies, a serious convention in magnetism analysis. 

“The venture turned out to be really synergistic,” Barsukov mentioned. “We realized loads from the highschool lecturers we labored with and have been in a position to design an thrilling instrument for outreach, which I also can use in my lessons at UCR. Engaged on this venture was an amazing lab expertise for my college students.”

Reference: “Exploring Magnetic Resonance with a Compass” by Esther Cookson, David Nelson, Michael Anderson, Daniel L. McKinney and Igor Barsukov, 26 November 2019, The Physics Trainer.
DOI: 10.1119/1.5135797

Barsukov and his college students have been joined within the venture by Daniel L. McKinney, a neighborhood highschool trainer; and Michael Anderson, an affiliate professor of physics schooling at UC Riverside.

The work was funded by the Nationwide Science Basis. The Physics Trainer Academy is supported by the California Science Venture.

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