Parahydrogen-Induced Hyperpolarization of Gases

Kirill V. Kovtunov*, Igor V. Koptyug, Marianna Fekete, Simon B. Duckett, Thomas Theis, Baptiste Joalland, Eduard Y. Chekmenev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Imaging of gases is a major challenge for any modality including MRI. NMR and MRI signals are directly proportional to the nuclear spin density and the degree of alignment of nuclear spins with applied static magnetic field, which is called nuclear spin polarization. The level of nuclear spin polarization is typically very low, i.e., one hundred thousandth of the potential maximum at 1.5 T and a physiologically relevant temperature. As a result, MRI typically focusses on imaging highly concentrated tissue water. Hyperpolarization methods transiently increase nuclear spin polarizations up to unity, yielding corresponding gains in MRI signal level of several orders of magnitude that enable the 3D imaging of dilute biomolecules including gases. Parahydrogen-induced polarization is a fast, highly scalable, and low-cost hyperpolarization technique. The focus of this Minireview is to highlight selected advances in the field of parahydrogen-induced polarization for the production of hyperpolarized compounds, which can be potentially employed as inhalable contrast agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17788-17797
Number of pages10
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number41
Early online date11 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the following award for funding support: NSF CHE- 1904780 (E.Y.C.), NIH 1R21CA220137 (E.Y.C.), R21EB025313 (T.T.), and 1U01CA202229 (E.Y.C.), DOD CDMRP PRMRP W81XWH-15-1-0271 (E.Y.C.). K.V.K. and I.V.K. thank RSF (grant # 19-13-00047) for the support of MRI studies and RFBR (grant # 19-29-10003 and 17-54-33037) for the support of catalysts synthesis, and Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education (AAAA-A16-116121510087-5) for the access to NMR/MRI equipment. SBD thanks financial support from the Wellcome Trust (Grants 092506 and 098335), the MRC (MR/M008991/1). T.T. also acknowledges support from the Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center Translational Research Grant as well as support from the Mallinckrodt foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Wiley-VCH GmbH


  • hyperpolarization
  • MRI
  • NMR
  • parahydrogen
  • spectroscopy

Cite this