Hyperpolarized 3He gas production and MR imaging of the lung

Jason C. Leawoods, Dmitriy A. Yablonskiy, Brian Saam, David S. Gierada, Mark S. Conradi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Optical polarization of 3He generates large nuclear spin magnetizations, allowing MR imaging of the gas spaces of human and animal lungs despite the low number density of spins in the gas. The atomic physics of optical pumping and spin exchange is explained; the hardware for polarizing, transporting, and imaging is detailed. Pulse sequences for optimum use of the nonrenewable magnetization require a different imaging strategy than traditional proton MRI. Examples are discussed for static lung images, diffusion images for characterization of the local alveolar structure, and high temporal resolution images.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-293
Number of pages17
JournalConcepts in Magnetic Resonance
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001


  • Hyperpolarized
  • MRI
  • NMR


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