Vadim S. Zotev1, Tuba Owens1, Igor M. Savukov1, Andrei N. Matlashov1, John J. Gomez1, Michelle A. Espy1
1Applied Modern Physics Group, Los
Alamos National Laboratory,
Hyperpolarization of C-13 has enabled real-time metabolic imaging of C-13 labeled substances with unprecedented signal-to-noise levels. Because hyperpolarization is performed outside an MRI scanner, high magnetic fields of conventional MRI offer little advantage in terms of C-13 polarization. We propose an ultimate low-field MRI scanner for imaging hyperpolarized C-13. It uses only microtesla-range magnetic fields and employs SQUID sensors to measure MRI signals. We present the first images acquired by SQUID-based microtesla MRI with dynamic nuclear polarization. We also report the first NMR spectra of C-13 at microtesla fields. Our results demonstrate feasibility and potential of the proposed imaging approach.