Application specific MR detectors
Our target samples cover a broad range of requirements, not all of which need to be satisfied for a particular sample type. We therefore take advantage of the MR-detector portfolio available at IMT (solenoid, Helmholtz, saddle, and strip line) and match the sample requirements to the suitable detector geometry. Integration of additional functionality is then explored and developed together with the detector fabrication processes. This topic is highly collaborative (Dario Mager, Swati Sharma, Vlad Badilita).
Sample detection and immobilization
Microfluidics coupled with micro-MR detectors offers the opportunity for high-throughput sample analysis. A key challenge is ensuring the sample is co-localized with the MR detector. We work towards integrating orthogonal sample detection concepts together with MR microfluidics based on novel photolithographic materials and impedance spectroscopy. Sample immobilization concepts based on reversible hydrogel formation are explored, taking advantage of gelation mechanisms based on gradients in temperature and solvent acidity.
Microsystem technology for MR hyperpolarization
It is well known that micro-MR detectors improve the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR); this comes at a cost of ‘S’ in the SNR. We attempt to recover the signal by pursuing two hyperpolarization techniques: transfer of pure para-hydrogen spin states (PHiP or SABRE), and transfer of electron spin polarization (dynamic nuclear polarization, DNP) to our nuclear spin system.
Mixture analysis methodology
Proton NMR spectra of complex mixtures, including those from metabolomic investigations, are characterized by severe spectral overlap, often to the point that signal assignment becomes impossible. Spectral overlap may be alleviated by introducing a second (or more) spectral dimension by exploiting intra- and inter-molecular coherence transfer, and we work towards implementing 1D analogs of such experiments as tools for resonance assignment.