Ultrahigh-Resolution Magnetic Resonance in Inhomogeneous Magnetic Fields: Two-Dimensional Long-Lived-Coherence Correlation Spectroscopy
A half-century quest for improving resolution in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has enabled the study of molecular structures, biological interactions, and fine details of anatomy. This progress largely relied on the advent of sophisticated superconducting magnets that can provide stable and homogeneous fields with temporal and spatial variations below Delta B0/B0 < 0.01 ppm. In many cases however, inherent properties of the objects under investigation, pulsating arteries, breathing lungs, tissue-air interfaces, surgical implants, etc., lead to fluctuations and losses of local homogeneity. A new method dubbed 'long-lived-coherence correlation spectroscopy'' (LLC-COSY) opens the way to overcome both inhomogeneous and homogeneous broadening, which arise from local variations in static fields and fluctuating dipole-dipole interactions, respectively. LLC-COSY makes it possible to obtain ultrahigh resolution two-dimensional spectra, with linewidths on the order of Delta v = 0.1 to 1 Hz, even in very inhomogeneous fields (Delta B-0/B-0 > 10 ppm or 5000 Hz at 9.7 T), and can improve resolution by a factor up to 9 when the homogeneous linewidths are determined by dipole-dipole interactions. The resulting LLC-COSY spectra display chemical shift differences and scalar couplings in two orthogonal dimensions, like in "J spectroscopy.'' LLC-COSY does not require any sophisticated gradient switching or frequency-modulated pulses. Applications to in-cell NMR and to magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) of selected volume elements in MRI appear promising, particularly when susceptibility variations tend to preclude high resolution.