A hyperpolarized equilibrium for magnetic resonance

J.-B. Hövener, N. Schwaderlapp, T. Lickert, S.B. Duckett, R.E. Mewis, L.A.R. Highton, S.M. Kenny, G.G.R. Green, D. Leibfritz, J.G. Korvink, J. Hennig, D. Von Elverfeldt

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Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging (MRI) play an indispensable role in science and healthcare but use only a tiny fraction of their potential. No more than ≈10 p.p.m. of all 1 H nuclei are effectively detected in a 3-Tesla clinical MRI system. Thus, a vast array of new applications lays dormant, awaiting improved sensitivity. Here we demonstrate the continuous polarization of small molecules in solution to a level that cannot be achieved in a viable magnet. The magnetization does not decay and is effectively reinitialized within seconds after being measured. This effect depends on the long-lived, entangled spin-order of parahydrogen and an exchange reaction in a low magnetic field of 10-3 Tesla. We demonstrate the potential of this method by fast MRI and envision the catalysis of new applications such as cancer screening or indeed low-field MRI for routine use and remote application.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2946
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2013

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