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Application of the double relaxation oscillation superconducting quantum interference device sensor to micro-tesla 1H nuclear magnetic resonance experiments

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9 Author(s)
Seok Kang, Chan ; Brain and Cognition Measurement Lab, Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science, Deajeon 305-340, South Korea ; Kim, Kiwoong ; Lee, Seong-Joo ; Hwang, Seong-min
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We developed an ultra-low field (ULF)-nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) measurement system capable of working with a measurement field (Bm) of several micro-tesla and performed basic NMR studies with a double relaxation oscillation superconducting quantum interference device (DROS) instead of conventional dc-SQUIDs. DROS is a SQUID sensor utilizing a relaxation oscillation between a dc-SQUID and a relaxation circuit; the new unit consists of an inductor and a resistor, and is connected in parallel with the SQUID. DROS has a 10 times larger flux-to-voltage transfer coefficient (∼mV/ϕ0) than that of the dc-SQUID, and this large transfer coefficient enables the acquisition of the SQUID signal with a simple flux-locked-loop (FLL) circuit using room temperature pre-amplifiers. The DROS second-order gradiometer showed average field noise of 9.2 μϕ0/√Hz in a magnetically shielded room (MSR). In addition, a current limiter formed of a Josephson junction array was put in a flux-transformer of DROS to prevent excessive currents that can be generated from the high pre-polarization field (Bp). Using this system, we measured an 1H NMR signal in water under 2.8 μT Bm field and reconstructed a one-dimensional MR image from the 1H NMR signal under a gradient field BG of 4.09 nT/mm. In addition, we confirmed that the ULF-NMR system can measure the NMR signal in the presence of metal without any distortion by measuring the NMR signal of a sample wrapped with metal. Lastly, we have measured the scalar J-coupling of trimethylphosphate and were able to confirm a clear doublet NMR signal with the coupling strength J3[P,H] = 10.4 ± 0.8 Hz. Finally, because the existing ULF-NMR/MRI studies were almost all performed with dc-SQUID based systems, we constructed a dc-SQUID-based ULF-NMR system in addition to the DROS- - based system and compared the characteristics of the two different systems by operating the two systems under identical experimental conditions.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:110 ,  Issue: 5 )

Date of Publication:

Sep 2011

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