Applications of Atomic Magnetometry and Hyperpolarized Xenon
Conventional nuclear magnetic resonance techniques have been exploited by scientists for everything from protein structure determination and clinical imaging, to drug synthesis and design. However, there are still several limitations, including portability, expense, and sensitivity. New methods will be described for sensitivity enhancement using xenon hyperpolarization and inexpensive low-field detection of nuclear quadrupole resonance (NQR), J-coupling, and hyperpolarized xenon (hp-Xe). Low-field detection is performed with an alkali vapor atomic magnetometer which is known to be extremely sensitive at earth's magnetic field and lower. This low field sensitivity allows for detection of nucleus interactions that are normally overshadowed by the much stronger Zeeman interactions at low field, such as NQR and J-coupling interactions. Lower magnetic field detection of conventional (Zeeman) NMR interactions are problematic due to the inherent loss of polarization at low fields. Hyperpolarization techniques, such as hp-Xe, allow NMR signal to be independent of the leading field strength. Hp-Xe is explored at high fields for microfluidic rapid screening applications, and at low field to expand the applications of these techniques.