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Inexhaustible Spring of Hyperpolarization For Magnetic Resonance

Project description

Breakthrough technique could boost NMR sensitivity by 10 000 times

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), which is used to chart the complex molecular structures of matter, has far-extending applications in a wide array of scientific fields. However, it has relatively low sensitivity because the interaction between nuclear spins and the applied magnetic field is much weaker compared to the thermal energy at room temperature. The EU-funded HypFlow project aims to use dissolution-dynamic nuclear polarisation (dDNP) to further increase the sensitivity of this spectroscopic method. To achieve greater levels of polarisation in nuclear spins, researchers will freeze liquid NMR samples in a pulsed DNP freeze-and-flow polariser. The samples will then melt and flow towards the spectrometer and recirculate repeatedly. The proposed technique could boost NMR sensitivity by 10 000 times.


Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) has become a well-established and versatile tool in numerous fields of research and in industry, but features a relatively low sensitivity which prevents solving today’s most pressing challenges in modern science.
Hyperpolarization by dissolution dynamic nuclear polarization (dDNP) provides a partial solution by enhancing sensitivity 10’000-fold. However, hyperpolarized solutions are available only once (single-shot), and are contaminated and diluted. This is incompatible with most NMR experiments, except for some niche applications.
HypFlow will reach the ground-breaking overall aim of providing inexhaustible (multi-shot) and pure (unpolluted and undiluted) hyperpolarization, thus truly compatible with NMR by:
1) designing and building a pulsed-DNP freeze&flow polarizer,
2) integrating the use of hyperpolarizing matrices with polarized electrons, and
3) validating multi-scan applications in metabolomics, drug discovery, and chemistry.
Liquid NMR samples will freeze in the HypFlow system where high levels of polarization will be generated, will then melt and flow toward the spectrometer, and will recirculate repeatedly. This will offer, for the first-time, inexhaustible and pure hyperpolarization with a 10’000-fold boost in sensitivity.
The PI has a unique combined leading expertise in most recent instrumental, methodological and chemical developments in dDNP that will empower him to tackle the scientific challenges of HypFlow.
HypFlow will deepen the fundamental scientific knowledge of nuclear and electron spin polarization generation, transfer, and relaxation phenomena. It will enable detection of hyperpolarized samples in a fully compatible way with a broad range of NMR applications, radically transforming and democratizing the practice of hyperpolarized NMR in research laboratories and industries.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 2 965 000,00
69622 Villeurbanne Cedex

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Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Rhône-Alpes Rhône
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 2 990 000,00

Beneficiaries (2)