New Research


2014/6/1

Sensitivity enhancements of NMR spectroscopy and MRI using laser and microwave

Prof. Masahiro Kitagawa, Assist. Prof. Akinori Kagawa, Assist. Prof. Makoto Negoro

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy are powerful tools to analyze the atomic structure inside material from the radio frequency magnetic signal induced by nuclear spins. Normally, the nuclear spin polarization is very low, and hence, the NMR signal is very small.

We are studying “dynamic nuclear polarization using photo-excited triplet electrons (triplet-DNP)”, which can polarize nuclear spins with laser and microwave.

Recently, we have succeeded in enhancing NMR signal by a factor of more than 10,000, while maintaining a sample at room temperature. With 10,000 times stronger signal, samples with ten-thousandths of conventional sample volume can be analyzed. If triplet-DNP can be applied to various samples, NMR spectroscopy becomes innovative analytic tool for advanced material development, functional structure analysis of biological compounds, and drug discovery. By injecting polarized material into the body, it will be possible to analyze tumor such as cancer using MRI in the future. In fundamental physics, triplet-DNP can be applied to quantum simulation and scattering target for accelerated particles.

We are trying to realize applications in a wide range of the fields including biology and medicine.


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