Foundations of continuous hyperpolarization explained – new method could pave the way for mobile MRI devices
An international research team led by Dr. Jan-Bernd Hövener from the Medical Physics Section of the Department of Radiology at the Medical Center – University of Freiburg has developed a new, cost-efficient method for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Now the scientists have elucidated the underlying mechanism of the new method in the renowned journal CHEMPHYSCHEM. As a comparison of theoretical simulations with experimental results demonstrates, the basic mechanism is now explained. The method could enable high-resolution MRI images even without expensive high-powered magnets.
The thorough investigation of all relevant factors is an important step toward understanding the new effect, which could lead to the development of new MRI devices for conducting cost-effective chemical analyses as well as precise diagnoses in remote areas – reason enough for CHEMPHYSCHEM to print the study on the inside cover.
Magnetic resonance imaging is a technique that can be used to create cross-sectional images of soft tissue structures inside the body without harmful radiation. MRI devices align a part of the magnetic moments of the hydrogen atoms in the body tissue in an artificial magnetic field and stimulate them with radio-frequency waves, whereupon they return to their original state.
Different signals are sent out depending on the structure and water content of the tissue, forming the basis for calculating the image. The technique usually requires very expensive magnets in order to achieve a sufficiently strong signal. The newly developed continuous hyperpolarization method enables MRI devices to align a much larger part of the hydrogen atoms in lower magnetic fields.
Even in a very weak magnetic field created with a simple battery, the signal is one hundred times stronger than in conventional MRI devices currently in use at hospitals. In addition, thanks to parahydrogen the polarization effect remains available for as long as needed: Normal hydrogen gas, whose atomic nuclei are in a special quantum state, causes the polarization to renew itself after each measurement by means of a chemical exchange reaction, thus enabling multiple images.
In their current study, the Freiburg researchers are searching for the factors responsible for influencing this effect of continuous hyperpolarization: “We’re looking for the optimal conditions for this method. The comparison between theoretical simulation and experimental results shows that the retention time (temperature) and concentration of the parahydrogen play a role as well as the strength of the magnetic field,” says Hövener, who conducts his research at the Medical Physics Section of the Department of Radiology at the Medical Center – University of Freiburg. “It was important to understand
this new effect before speculating about biomedical applications. Fortunately, this is now the case.”
Hövener’s research has attracted great interest: His publication last year in Nature Communications won him second place in the competition for the Klee Foundation Prize of the German Society for Biomedical Engineering (DGBMT), which will be awarded in October at DGBMT’s annual meeting in Hanover.
The German Research Foundation (DFG) is providing the Freiburg medical physicist funding to establish his own research group within the context of the Emmy Noether Program. Hövener has set a clear research goal for the group: “We want to develop new hyperpolarization methods and thus take on the challenges of modern diagnostics. Ultimately, our goal is to develop new methods for identifying and observing diseases earlier, more affordably, and better.”
Title of original publication: Continuous Re-hyperpolarization of Nuclear Spins Using
Parahydrogen: Theory and Experiment
Dr. Jan-Bernd Hövener
Hyperpolarization Group Leader
Medical Physics, Department of Radiology
Medical Center – University of Freiburg
Phone: +49 (0)761 270-93910
Inga Schneider | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract
28.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital
Artificial intelligence may help diagnose tuberculosis in remote areas
25.04.2017 | Radiological Society of North America
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences