We propose to develop the core high temperature superconductor SQUID technology enabling the implementation of a new diagnostic system capable of non-invasively measuring heart function. SQUID technology provides the only known means to detect the very small magnetic fields generated by abnormal electrical activity in arrhythomogenic heart tissue. The application is to screen patients for cardiac arrhythmisas that can result in Sudden Cardiac Death. High temperature SQUID magnetometers are attractive because they would enable to cardiac diagnostic system to be built at a much lower cost, which is the key to commercialization. This proposal is geared toward: (1) determining the necessary sensitivity for a practical magnetometer chip to perform the cardiac applications, (2) identifying magnetometer designs capable of satisfying these requirements, and (3) fabricating and characterizing the most promising designs. All magnetometer chip designs will incorporate our state-of-the art high temperature superconducting junctions that combine sensitivity, manufacturability, and reliability. Anticipated Benefits:
More than 300,000 people die each year from Sudden Cardiac Death in the United States. Thirty to forty percent of these people have no prior warning signs. In the US alone, a non-invasive cardiac screening test could save tens of thousands of lives and reduce health care costs by over $820 million per year. The same technology also has potential application in many key defense areas such as underwater mine detection, non-destructive evaluation of critical aircraft components, and ground-fault detection on VLSI circuits.