Hyperpolarization: How to Obtain and Use a 100,000-fold Increase in Polarization

Organizers: John P. Mugler III, Ph.D., Brian K. Rutt, Ph.D.
Skill Level: Intermediate

Tuesday 6 May, Wednesday 7 May, Thursday 8 May and Friday 9 May 2008


This course of four one-hour sessions will provide an in-depth description of the principles and applications of hyperpolarized contrast media, with a focus on carbon-13 compounds and the noble gases helium-3 and xenon-129.

Lecture topics will include polarization physics for noble gases, carbon-13 and other nuclei; acquisition methods suitable for gases and non-equilibrium magnetization; and current animal and human applications of hyperpolarized contrast media, including the detection and characterization of pulmonary disease and cancer.

Educational Objectives:

Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to:

  • Describe “hyperpolarization,” that is, the physical process for generating nuclear polarization in certain gases or compounds that exceeds the thermal-equilibrium polarization achieved in typical MR scanners by several orders of magnitude;
  • List the nuclei and compounds for which the hyperpolarized state has been achieved;
  • Identify the special requirements for MRI or MRS of hyperpolarized contrast media and describe pulse-sequence strategies that meet these requirements;
  • List imaging and spectroscopy applications of hyperpolarized contrast media in animal models of disease; and
  • Implement hyperpolarized-gas MRI in human pulmonary diseases for which it may improve detection and/or characterization compared to current modalities.

    Audience Description:

    This course is designed for basic scientists, engineers or physicians with a knowledge of basic MR imaging physics (M.S., Ph.D., and/or M.D.), and with interests in pulse-sequence design and optimization, pulmonary disease, cancer, and molecular imaging. Scientists or engineers developing new MRI/MRS techniques and physicians or basic scientists doing research in pulmonary disease or cancer will find it helpful.

      Hyperpolarization Basics  
    7:00 Hyperpolarized Contrast Media: Overview of Principles & Applications Bastiaan Driehuys, Ph.D.
    7:30 Polarization Physics: Carbon-13 & Other Nuclei Jan H. Ardenkjaer-Larsen, Ph.D.
    8:00 Adjournment  
      Hyperpolarized Carbon-13: Methods and Animal Applications  
    7:00 Acquisition Methods: Hyperpolarized Carbon-13 Charles H. Cunningham, Ph.D.
    7:30 Applications of Hyperpolarized Carbon-13 in Animals Daniel B. Vigneron, Ph.D.
    8:00 Adjournment  
      Hyperpolarized Gases: Physics and Methods  
    7:00 Polarization Physics: Noble Gases F. William Hersman, M.D.
    7:30 Acquisition Methods: Hyperpolarized Gases John P. Mugler III, Ph.D.
    8:00 Adjournment  
      Hyperpolarized Gases: Animal & Human Applications  
    7:00 Applications of Hyperpolarized Gases in Animals Giles E. Santyr, Ph.D.
    7:30 Hyperpolarized Imaging in Humans: Overview, Rationale & Clinical Directions Talissa Altes, M.D.
    8:00 Adjournment