Research project

Progetto OXiNEMS (DFM.AD001.216)

Thematic area

Physical sciences and technologies of matter

Project area

Sensori multifunzionali e dispositivi elettronici (DFM.AD001)

Structure responsible for the research project

Institute for superconductors, oxides and other innovative materials and devices (SPIN)

Other structures collaborating in the research project

Project manager

Phone number: 010/3536282


OXiNEMS - Oxide Nanoelectromechanical Systems for Ultrasensitive and Robust Sensing of Biomagnetic Fields - aims at integrating more functionalities into nanomechanical systems (NEMS) by using (crystalline) transition metal oxides, a class of compounds that show a wide range of physical properties, with the perspective of introducing new classes of transducers with unprecedented detection/transduction mechanisms. The OXiNEMS team will implement ultrasensitive magnetic field detectors robust to applied magnetic fields and able to measure very weak magnetic fields, targeting those generated by human brain activity of the order of tens of femtotesla. The OXiNEMS sensors are foreseen to allow the effective integration of magnetoencephalography (MEG) with other recently developed imaging techniques such as ultralow field (ULF) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and with techniques traditionally non-compatible with MEG, such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and trigger a new generation of multimodal systems allowing to image brain activity and connectivity with high spatial and temporal resolution, with a sound impact on basic and clinical neuroscience.


A) To kick-off the technology of full-oxide nanomechanics by studying the feasibility, advantages and limits of a new class of NEMS devices based on integrated multifunctional oxide thin film structures. New applications arise that reach far beyond the state-of-the-art and are impossible to achieve using silicon-based devices.
B) To assess the potential of a full-oxides NEMS sensor in detecting very tiny magnetic fields (sensitivity better than 10 fT/sqrt(Hz), bandwidth DC-1 MHz), and in quickly recovering in a strong applied field (» 1 T). Such sensor would be the suitable magnetic field NEMS sensor in a Magnetoencephalography (MEG) system for the detection of the magnetic fields of the human brain, also in the presence of relatively strong applied fields as in Very-Low-Field (VLF)/ Ultra-Low-Field (ULF)-Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).
C) To develop strategies for the integration of such devices into small-scale prototypes of MEG and MEG/MRI/TMS setups, with the perspective of novel, multimodal, large scale commercial instruments.

Start date of activity



Oxide Electronics, Magnetoencephalography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Last update: 22/02/2024