Magnetic methods


Imaging - Manipulation - Hyperthermia

With magnetic methods in medicine, conventional therapy and diagnostic approaches can be supplemented or expanded with non-invasive, radiation-free alternatives. Magnetic fields enable both the contact-free movement of the smallest objects in space and the imaging of physiological processes via the detection of nanoparticles

This novel imaging method Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI) can quantitatively measure and image the three-dimensional distribution and concentration of magnetic nanoparticles with high spatial and temporal resolution and high sensitivity. MPI enables real-time, three-dimensional visualisation of particles and objects without the use of ionising radiation.

The control of the smallest magnetic devices with externally applied magnetic fields can become an important tool in the field of minimally invasive therapy, as it could enable operations to be performed even more gently and drugs to be administered in an even more targeted manner. For precise and safe application, however, magnetic manipulation requires precise monitoring of the movement process of the manipulated objects. In addition to clinically established methods such as X-ray-based imaging, MRI or ultrasound, magnetic particle imaging is particularly suitable. In combination with heating by high-frequency magnetic fields (hyperthermia), further therapeutic effects can be achieved

The area of magnetic methods at Fraunhofer IMTE is concerned with the new and further development of various concepts for MPI systems for clinical and preclinical imaging, as well as systems for the testing and characterisation of nanoparticles. In combination with the other research areas, this results in a holistic approach of innovative magnetic processes in medical technology.

Fields of research

Development of minimally invasive therapy options with magnetic devices

The control of small magnetic devices using the force exerted by magnetic fields opens up new possibilities for minimally invasive therapy. At Fraunhofer IMTE, magnetic microrobots are being developed using additive manufacturing, which are then controlled using magnetic fields. Position monitoring is provided by magnetic particle imaging, so that real-time control will be possible. 

(Neuro)logical perfusion scanner based on (Ma)gnetic (P)article Imaging

MPI is so far a preclinical imaging modality. At Fraunhofer IMTE, an MPI device is to be developed on the basis of a prototype head scanner, which will be approved for human application and enable the first MPI images of a human being. The envisaged medical application is rapid stroke diagnosis, which can be performed directly at a patient's bedside, e.g. in an ambulance or in the emergency room. This is achieved by designing the system as a mobile unit.

Theranostic approach for therapy and diagnostics with magnetic nanoparticles

Magnetic field hyperthermia is a clinical application that uses magnetic nanoparticles to convert magnetic energy in the body into heat. Biomedical applications range from cancer therapy to targeted drug delivery. Combined with magnetic particle imaging, there are new benefits, such as monitoring the effect of therapy. With the insert specifically designed for a clinical MPI scanner, the device can be transformed into a combined system, allowing spatially controlled heating and monitoring of particle distribution and temperature.

Preclinical magnetic particle imaging

At Fraunhofer IMTE, a preclinical MPI system was developed and set up, whose selection field corresponds to a field-free line. This makes it possible to obtain sensitive and high-resolution images of a distribution of magnetic nanoparticles. The system is characterised by mechanical rotation. This makes it predestined for a wide range of preclinical applications, which are being evaluated on this system in collaboration with various partners.


  • Magnetic field design and simulations of coils and permanent magnet geometries
  • Development of hardware and software for magnetic imaging
  • Phantom development, provision of resolution phantoms
  • Analysis of magnetic samples
  • Magnetic particle spectroscopy (measurement of the dynamic BH curve at 25 kHz)
  • VSM (Vibrating Sample Magnetometer)
  • Magnetic field hyperthermia
  • Development of algorithms to solve inverse imaging problems (reconstruction)
  • 1D, 2D, 3D particle imaging with different MPI devices (commercial and research)
  • Testing of electrical components for their usability in an MPI system
  • Cooperation and consulting in the implementation of magnetic imaging applications


Magnetic particle spectrometer MPI systems Further
  • 1D excitation at 25 kHz
  • 3D excitation at ~25 kHz
  • Under development: In-flow MPS in the synthesis of nanoparticles
  • In development: Arbitrary waveform MPS 
  • Bruker Pre-Clinical FF20
  • Pre-clinical FFL system: Kolibri
  • Single-Sided MPI System
  • Possibilities for the synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles
  • Vibrating Sample Magnetometer
  • Instrumentation for the investigation of magnetic field hyperthermia
  • Coming soon: Device for manipulation of magnetic devices