Low thermal-equilibrium nuclear spin polarizations and the need for sophisticated instrumentation render conventional nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and imaging (MRI) incompatible with small-scale microfluidic devices. Hyperpolarized 129 Xe gas has found use in the study of many materials but has required very large and expensive instrumentation. Recently a microfabricated device with modest instrumentation demonstrated all-optical hyperpolarization and detection of 129 Xe gas. This device was limited by 129 Xe polarizations less than 1%, 129 Xe NMR signals smaller than 20 nT, and transport of hyperpolarized 129 Xe over millimeter lengths. Higher polarizations, versatile detection schemes, and flow of 129 Xe over larger distances are desirable for wider applications. Here we demonstrate an ultra-sensitive microfabricated platform that achieves 129 Xe polarizations reaching 7%, NMR signals exceeding 1 μT, lifetimes up to 6 s, and simultaneous two-mode detection, consisting of a high-sensitivity in situ channel with signal-to-noise of 10 5 and a lower-sensitivity ex situ detection channel which may be useful in a wider variety of conditions. 129 Xe is hyperpolarized and detected in locations more than 1 cm apart. Our versatile device is an optimal platform for microfluidic magnetic resonance in particular, but equally attractive for wider nuclear spin applications benefitting from ultra-sensitive detection, long coherences, and simple instrumentation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank S. Schima, R.R. Rivers, and B.R. Patton for help with fabrication of the devices. Research was supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Materials Science and Engineering under contract No. DEAC02-05CH11231 (D.J.K., S.J.S., H.L.R., N.S.M., V.S.B., and A.P.). This work is a contribution of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. government, and is not subject to copyright (R.J.M., S.K., E.A.D., and J.K.).
© The Author(s) 2017.