2. Using magnetic fields to evaluate cellular tissue and biological excitation

Using magnetic fields to evaluate cellular tissue and biological excitation

  • School of Medicine/Graduate School of Medicine
  • Cellular Signaling Medicine
  • Cell Physiology
  • (A Group Of Bioelectromagnetic Measurement )

Shinsuke Nakayama [Associate Professor]

Outline of Seeds

Our research team offers a device for efficiently measuring the magnetic fields produced by living/cellular tissue as well as a method for analyzing those measurements.
Because biological magnetic fields are so weak, it is believed that supersensitive magnetic field measurement devices are needed to detect them. The devices being used for this purpose include the superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID), which was developed outside of Japan, and the optical pumping atomic magnetometer (OPAM). However, the laws of physics tell us that the magnetic fields generated by electrical current attenuate with increased distance, meaning that if we can set up the measurement device close enough so that no significant attenuation has yet occurred, we should be able to measure magnetic fields more efficiently. Put another way, given the range dependence of magnetic fields, magnetometers like the SQUID and OPAM, which do not operate at body temperature, cannot be considered ideal methods for measuring biological magnetic fields.
To address this issue, we propose using amorphous metal for magnetic-sensitive parts and using magnetometers that operate at room temperature or body temperature to measure the magnetic fields generated by living/cellular tissue. Because the current circuit is completely enclosed in within the living/cellular tissue, in general, magnetic field attenuation is thought to be significant with distance. For this reason, we are measuring magnetic fields by setting up a magnetic-sensitive probe near the current circuit. Our magnetometer also has the advantage of being able to measure magnetic fields even in environments where terrestrial magnetism is present.

Novelty and originality of this research

Our device was developed using magnetometry techniques developed at Nagoya University rather than overseas, making it a native Japanese technology. It allows researchers to get near the living body (current circuit) generating the magnetic field, and can be made compact. The range of applications can also be further broadened with the addition of auxiliary devices.

Application and research area for Industry collaboration

1) Devices for measuring the magnetic fields generated by living/cellular tissue (with applications for laboratory instruments, regenerative medicine assistive devices, and clinical testing devices)
2) Devices that can perform conduction path analysis within living/cellular tissue
3) Devices that can assess biological movement/motion through the addition of magnetic material or the like

Key Takeaway

Our team has developed techniques for evaluating living/cellular tissue based on technologies invented at Nagoya University. We are seeking trusted partners for joint research and collaboration.


Amorphous metals, room temperature operation, non-magnetic shielding, vector sensor, intercellular current, return current


  • Magnetometers that use amorphous metals for magnetic-sensitive parts and can operate at room temperature, biological measurement methods and analysis techniques.
  • Devices and methods for measuring electrical conduction paths in living things


  • Detector for magnetic signal from cellular structure, WO2009130814

Monographs, Papers and Articles

  • NAKAYAMA, S., & UCHIYAMA, T. (2015). Real-time measurement of biomagnetic vector fields in functional syncytium using amorphous metal. Scientific Reports, 5.
  • NAKAYAMA, S., ATSUTA, S., SHINMI, T. & UCHIYAMA, T. (2011). Pulse-driven magnetoimpedance sensor detection of biomagnetic fields in musculatures with spontaneous electric activity. Biosensors and Bioelectronics 27, 34-39.