The University of New Hampshire Center for Xenon Imaging has been established to investigate the properties and utility of hyperpolarized xenon, particularly as a contrast agent in magnetic resonance imaging. This opportunity has arisen at UNH due to our recent demonstration of breakthrough technology that overcomes the natural obstacles to polarizing xenon. In order to compare our new technology to existing polarizers it is useful to define a "figure of merit". Since all xenon polarizers produce higher polarizations at lower production rates, the figure of merit is defined as the product of these two numbers. Our method produces hyperpolarized xenon at a figure of merit that exceeds the world's second best by a factor of ten at most useful polarizations. As we are approaching the theoretical maximum (nearly fully polarized xenon in nearly unlimited quantities), we have the unique opportunity of exploring the intrinsic diagnostic potential of hyperpolarized xenon.

 

Xenon Polarizer Simulation Code is now online

Oct 2, 2006. Our Xenon Polarizer Simulation Code is now online. The web interface is still under construction, please check back often.

 

Boston Globe writes about our work

July 24, 2006. The Boston Globe newspaper wrote an article about hyperpolarized gas imaging which described work of Dr. Sam Patz of Brigham and Women's Hospital, our principal collaborator on lung MRI using hyperpolarized xenon. You can find the article here.

UNH Xenon Polarizer's first publication lands in Physical Review Letters

Feb 10, 2006. Our first report describing the world leading xenon polarizing system was published in the Physical Review Letters 96: 053002 (2006). Check out our Reports for the content of the paper. We have in preparation a more detailed description of the system and the results, as well as a theoretical paper on the polarizer's concept.

UNH polarizer obtains its first image of a human lung

May 04, 2005. Boston, MA -- The UNH polarizer delivered polarized gas for our first ever human lung image. The polarized gas was thawed directly into a 1 liter Tedlar bag. The human subject inhaled about 400 cc of enriched hyperpolarized 129Xe in one inhalation, completing the inhalation with room air to the lung capacity. We performed two experiments separated by about 90 min. The experiments were based on an approved IRB protocol. The experience is a milestone for our group opening the door for performing human imaging using hyperpolarized 129Xe.

Polarizer operational at Brigham and Women's Hospital

April 22, 2005. Boston, MA -- The UNH 129Xe polarizer produces polarized gas at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Moving the Xe polarizer equipment from UNH to BWH started about a month ago. The polarizer was reassembled in an annex next to a 0.2 T scanner in the basement of the hospital. This is the first time the 129Xe polarizer has been moved and successfully operated off-campus.

Faraday rotation apparatus commissioned and operational

August 23, 2004. Durham, NH -- Using Faraday rotation technique, we have measured the product of density and polarization of rubidium. Knowledge of the product is very critical in improving the polarization in optical pump process. In order to make a precision measurement, we have built a compact system, based on Littrow grating with a beam correcting mirror. We have successfully narrowed the width of the wavelength of 780 nm diode laser far below 0.015 nm; Precision was limited by the detector resolution. The wavelength was also stable within 0.001 nm drift in nine hour duration. The figure shown is Faraday rotation as a function of scanning wavelength. By fitting the data with theoretical Faraday rotation, we obtained the product, 1.39E12 cm-3 for this data set.

UNH group achieves high efficiency with spectrally-narrowed laser

March 19, 2004. Durham, NH -- Our existing NIH grant includes funds for the replacement of the 200W 795nm laser we borrowed from our nuclear physics program. Instead of purchasing a duplicate, we have opted to extend the work of Thad Walker and Bien Chann of the University of Wisconsin on spectrally narrowed multi-stripe diode lasers. Working with a stack of five bars capable of 60W each, we recently demonstrated 68% efficiency at 0.1 nm wavelength at half-maximum current.