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