The HYPERMAG mission is to create a theoretical and experimental framework for hyperpolarization by the dissolution Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (d-DNP) method.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Magnetic Resonance Imaging play a crucial role in numerous fields of science. Enhancement of the magnetic resonance signal through d-DNP hyperpolarization is a means to overcome inherent sensitivity challenges, enabling new vistas in e.g. medicine, biology and chemistry.

DNP was predicted theoretically in the 1950ies by Albert Overhauser and demonstrated soon after. This was a fundamental discovery causing disbelief at the time: that heating of one spin system could lead to the cooling of another.

Still today, the theoretical description of DNP is lacking and serious challenges need to be overcome for the method to reach its full potential as a research tool and in applications. The HYPERMAG mission revolves around three basic questions:

Will we be able to reach unity polarization in minutes?

Higher polarization on a much faster time scale requires:
• theories for DNP that are quantitative and predictive
• electron paramagnetic agents (EPA) with optimized magnetic properties
• multimodal electromagnetic structures with unprecedented performance

What is the ultimate limit of detection in hyperpolarization?

New paradigms are needed to maximize the information content of the acquired signal within the life time of the hyperpolarization. Pushing the detection efficiency of the hyperpolarized signal to the maximum will require:
• acquisition strategies that sample the spatial, spectral and dynamic dimensions (5D) optimally to extract quantitative information about molecular reactions in vivo and in vitro
• massively parallel, cryogenic receive coils to reduce thermal noise and accelerate acquisition

What are the important relaxation mechanisms and how can we deal with them?
The hyperpolarized signal is subjected to relaxation mechanisms while undergoing chemical or biochemical transformation in vivo and in vitro. Understanding these is fundamental to the application of hyperpolarization and will require:
• Mapping of (bio)chemical interactions in various biological systems
• Predictive, kinetic modeling of interlinked chemical pathways
28 JULY 2017