Design and performance of a DNP prepolarizer coupled to a rodent MRI scanner
For most of the last forty years, the techniques of Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (DNP) have been confined to particle-physics laboratories building polarized targets, but recently it has been shown that samples similar to a solid target can be transformed into room temperature liquid solutions while retaining a high nuclear polarization. This method of "hyperpolarization" is of interest in NMR/MRI/MRS. We describe a 3.35 T DNP/9.4 T MRI installation based on a continuous-flow cryostat, using a standard wide-bore low-field NMR magnet as prepolarizer magnet and a widely available radical as polarizing agent. The interfacing to a rodent scanner requires that the infusion of the polarized solution in the animal be remotely controlled, because of limited access inside the magnet bore. Physiological constraints on the infusion rate can be a serious source of polarization loss, and the discussion of efficiency is therefore limited to that of the prepolarizer itself, i.e., the spin temperatures obtained in the solid state. To put our results in context, we summarize data obtained in targets with different types of radicals, and provide a short review of the DNP mechanisms needed in their discussion. (C) 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.