Hyperpolarised NMR On A Chip

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: School of Chemistry


Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is one of the most versatile tools known to science. It is non-invasive, allowing direct and quantitative studies of metabolic processes and transport phenomena in live systems. We have recently demonstrated this at small scale, in the context of microfluidic lab-on-a-chip devices. However, such small-scale applications are limited by the comparatively low sensitivity of NMR. Many important processes in living systems happen on a time scale of minutes to hours. They are difficult to probe with NMR, since the nuclear spin states tend to relax to thermal equilibrium within a few seconds.
The aim of this PhD project is to develop an integrated microfluidic lab-on-a-chip platform for high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and imaging. This will enable direct NMR investigation of miniaturised lab-on-a-chip culture devices for cells, cell aggregates, and tissues. Such devices will find important applications in the life sciences, for example as disease models, supporting drug discovery and safety testing, as well as tissue engineering.
Hyperpolarisation of the nuclear spins can provide up to 5 orders of magnitude of signal enhancement. However, existing hyper polarisation techniques are not easily combined with microfluidic systems. The present project will address this by developing a microfluidic device that integrates the chemical reactions and the spin manipulations required for para-hydrogen induced hyper polarisation (PHIP). We intend to combine this with recent developments of molecules that support very long-lived nuclear spin states in order to explore transport and chemical processes in microfluidic devices.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R513325/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2023
2106025 Studentship EP/R513325/1 27/09/2018 31/03/2022 Sylwia Ostrowska