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In this work we describe how the signal enhancements obtained through the SABRE process in methanol-d4 solution are significantly affected by pH. Nicotinic acid (vitamin B3, NA) is used as the agent, and changing pH is shown to modify the level of polarisation transfer by over an order of magnitude, with significant improvements being seen in terms of the signal amplitude and relaxation rate at high pH values. These observations reveal that manipulating pH to improve SABRE enhancements levels may improve the potential of this method to quantify low concentrations of analytes in mixtures.1H NMR spectroscopy results link this change to the form of the SABRE catalyst, which changes with pH, resulting in dramatic changes in the magnitude of the ligand exchange rates. The presented data also uses the fact that the chemical shifts of the nicotinic acids NMR resonances are affected by pH to establish that hyperpolarised 1H-based pH mapping with SABRE is possible. Moreover, the strong polarisation transfer field dependence shown in the amplitudes of the associated higher order longitudinal terms offers significant opportunities for the rapid detection of hyperpolarised NA in H2O itself without solvent suppression. 1H and 13C MRI images of hyperpolarised vitamin B3 in a series of test phantoms are presented that show pH dependent intensity and contrast. This study therefore establishes that when the pH sensitivity of NA is combined with the increase in signal gain provided for by SABRE hyperpolarisation, a versatile pH probe results.
Bibliographical note© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2017
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