3He spin exchange cells for magnetic resonance imaging
Journal of Applied Physics
We present a protocol for the consistent fabrication of glass cells to provide hyperpolarized ͑HP͒ 3 He for pulmonary magnetic resonance imaging. The method for producing HP 3 He is spin-exchange optical pumping. The valved cells must hold of order 1 atm•L of gas at up to 15 atm pressure. Because characteristic spin-exchange times are several hours, the longitudinal nuclear relaxation time T 1 for 3 He must be several tens of hours and robust with respect to repeated refilling and
... g and repolarization. Collisions with the cell wall are a significant and often dominant cause of relaxation. Consistent control of wall relaxation through cell fabrication procedures has historically proven difficult. With the help of the discovery of an important mechanism for wall relaxation that involves magnetic surface sites in the glass, and with the further confirmation of the importance of Rb metal to long wall-relaxation times, we have developed a successful protocol for fabrication of 3 He spin exchange cells from inexpensive and easily worked borosilicate ͑Pyrex͒ glass. The cells are prepared under vacuum using a high-vacuum oil-free turbomolecular pumping station, and they are sealed off under vacuum after у100 mg of distilled Rb metal is driven in. Filling of cells with the requisite 3 He-N 2 mixture is done on an entirely separate gas-handling system. Our cells can be refilled and the gas repolarized indefinitely with no significant change in their wall properties. Relaxation data are presented for about 30 cells; the majority of these reach a "40/40" benchmark: T 1 Ͼ40 h, and 3 He polarizations reach or exceed 40%. Typical polarization times range from 12 to 20 h; 20% polarization can be achieved in 3-5 h.