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A hyperpolarized equilibrium for magnetic resonance

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JournalNature Communications
DatePublished - 16 Dec 2013
Original languageEnglish


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.

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