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Abstract #3279

Toward Microtesla MRI of Hyperpolarized Carbon-13 for Real-Time Metabolic Imaging

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, Los Alamos, NM, United States

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.