Depth limitations for in vivo magnetic nanoparticle detection with a compact handheld device

Martijn Visscher, Sebastiaan Waanders, Joost Pouw, Bennie ten Haken*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
245 Downloads (Pure)


The increasing interest for local detection of magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) during clinical interventions requires the development of suitable probes that unambiguously detect the MNPs at a depth of several centimeters in the body. The present study quantitatively evaluates the limitations of a conventional magnetometry method using a sinusoidal alternating field. This method is limited by the variability of the magnetic susceptibility of the surrounding diamagnetic tissue. Two different sensors are evaluated in a theoretical model of MNP detection in a tissue volume. For a coil that completely encloses the sample volume, the MNPs can be detected if the total mass contributing to the signal is larger than 4.1×10-7 times the tissue mass. For a handheld surface coil, intended to search for the MNPs in a larger tissue volume, an amount of 1 μg of iron oxide cannot be detected by sensors with a diameter larger than 15 mm. To detect a spot with MNPs at 5 cm depth in tissue, it should contain at least 325 μg iron oxide. Therefore, for high-sensitive clinical MNP detection in surgical interventions, techniques with increased specificity for the nonlinear magnetic properties of MNPs are indispensable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-250
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of magnetism and magnetic materials
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2015


  • Biomedical sensing
  • Diamagnetism of tissue
  • In vivo detection
  • Intraoperative sentinel lymph node detection
  • Magnetic nanoparticle
  • Nonlinear susceptibility
  • 2023 OA procedure


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