SQUID-based ultralow-field MRI of a hyperpolarized material using signal amplification by reversible exchange

Lee, Seong-Joo, Keunhong Jeong, Jeong Hyun Shim, Hyun Joon Lee, Sein Min, Heelim Chae, Sung Keon Namgoong, and Kiwoong Kim. “SQUID-Based Ultralow-Field MRI of a Hyperpolarized Material Using Signal Amplification by Reversible Exchange.” Scientific Reports 9, no. 1 (December 2019): 12422.

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-48827-5

The signal amplification by reversible exchange (SABRE) technique is a very promising method for increasing magnetic resonance (MR) signals. SABRE can play a particularly large role in studies with a low or ultralow magnetic field because they suffer from a low signal-to-noise ratio. In this work, we conducted real-time superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID)-based nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies in a microtesla-range magnetic field using the SABRE technique after designing a bubble-separated phantom. A maximum enhancement of 2658 for 1H was obtained for pyridine in the SABRE-NMR experiment. A clear SABRE-enhanced MR image of the bubble-separated phantom, in which the para-hydrogen gas was bubbling at only the margin, was successfully obtained at 34.3 μT. The results show that SABRE can be successfully incorporated into an ultralow-field MRI system, which enables new SQUID-based MRI applications. SABRE can shorten the MRI operation time by more than 6 orders of magnitude and establish a firm basis for future low-field MRI applications.

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