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Nat Phys. 2012 Nov;8(11):831-837. Epub 2012 Sep 16.

Accessing long-lived nuclear singlet states between chemically equivalent spins without breaking symmetry.

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Department of Chemistry, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA ; Center for Molecular and Biomolecular Imaging, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA.


Long-lived nuclear spin states could greatly enhance the applicability of hyperpolarized nuclear magnetic resonance. Using singlet states between inequivalent spin pairs has been shown to extend the signal lifetime by more than an order of magnitude compared to the spin lattice relaxation time (T1), but they have to be prevented from evolving into other states. In the most interesting case the singlet is between chemically equivalent spins, as it can then be inherently an eigenstate. However this presents major challenges in the conversion from bulk magnetization to singlet. In the only case demonstrated so far, a reversible chemical reaction to break symmetry was required. Here we present a pulse sequence technique that interconverts between singlet spin order and bulk magnetization without breaking the symmetry of the spin system. This technique is independent of field strength and is applicable to a broad range of molecules.

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