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Expanding the horizons of magnetic resonance in sensitivity, imaging resolution, and availability (The MR Challenge)
Start date: 01 Aug 2008, End date: 31 Jul 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"We propose to develop and implement advanced magnetic resonance detection and micro-imaging techniques that will benefit many biophysical, chemical, physical, and medical applications. Magnetic resonance (MR) is one of the most profound observation methods in science. MR includes Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and Electron Spin Resonance (ESR). It has a variety of applications ranging from chemical structure determination to medical imaging and quantum computing. From a scientific standpoint, MR was the main focus of at least seven Nobel prizes in physics, chemistry, and medicine. From an industrial standpoint, MR is a multibillion industry focused on a range of medical (MRI) and chemical applications (MR spectrometers). Despite the fact that magnetic resonance was discovered more than 60 years ago, there is still plenty of room for new methodologies and applications. This research will confront some of the most challenging issues that this field has yet to offer, which also contain the greatest potential benefits. This is what we call “The MR Challenge”. We will focus on three key MR issues: sensitivity, image resolution, and affordability. Our first goal is to substantially improve the sensitivity of MR spectroscopy and the resolution of MR micro-imaging. We will put most of our efforts on ESR spectroscopy and on the detection of NMR information through an ESR signal (ENDOR). At ambient conditions our goal is to achieve a sensitivity of ~10^4 electron spins and a resolution of 1 micron; at low temperatures we will approach single electron spin sensitivity and image resolution as high as 10nm. In terms of affordability, our goal is to introduce a small probe that is capable of acquiring NMR spectra from samples located outside the magnet (an ""ex-situ"" probe). We will also design and construct a new family of hand-held 3D NMR imaging probes. The new capabilities would be applied in the field of single cell imaging and biophysics, materials science, and medicine."
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