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Production of highly nuclear-spin polarised liquids for MRI and NMR

13.12.2006
This novel method, in combination with the device based on the invention, makes the production of highly nuclear-spin-polarised liquids as a contrast medium for MRI and NMR possible for the first time. To achieve this, liquids with a high preservation of the nuclear polarisation, characterised by the so-called T1 time, are mixed with such liquids which exhibit a low vapour pressure of less than 10^-3 mbar at room temperature (20°C). Surprisingly, it was found that so-called ionic liquids exhibit the desired low vapour pressure and can also be mixed with liquids with a high T1 time. Through suitable mixtures, T1 durations of more than 15 minutes could be achieved with liquids at room temperature. Thus, for this time period, the sensitivity e.g. of determination of biological molecules could be increased by a factor of 100 up to 1,000,000.

After preparation, the liquid, which is able to be nuclear-spin polarised, is transferred ? under the formation of a free fluid-film ? into a nearly conventional vacuum apparatus and irradiated with highly nuclear-spin polarised atoms/ions. After removal from the vacuum apparatus ? and a possible concentration method - based on ambient conditions, a highly nuclear-spin polarised contrast medium is avail-able for the purposes of the MRI or NMR, e.g. as a solvent for biomolecules or as an injectable contrast medium.

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