Lorentz Center - Hot Topics in Spin-Hyperpolarization from 30 Jan 2012 through 3 Feb 2012
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    Hot Topics in Spin-Hyperpolarization
    from 30 Jan 2012 through 3 Feb 2012

Equation of motion

The workshop brought scientist working in the different fields of spin-hyperpolarization in magnetic resonance together to explore the overlap between these hitherto largely separate areas. The aim was to identify critical issues of common interest that affect the performance of the hyperpolarization strategy and make the experimental utilization of the high spin polarization difficult.  In particular, the workshop aimed to establish discussions in the commonly shared research fields such as relaxation control and analysis, polarization transfer, theoretical modeling and hardware development.


About 55 scientists attended. There were 20 invited talks, 6 contributed talks by junior scientist and about 12 poster presentations. In three times three parallel working groups specific topics were discussed.


In the application, we stated that the workshop will be a success when

(i)         it extracts current questions and strategies for their solutions,

(ii)        it triggers international communication and collaborations,

(iii)       it is decided that the conferences on spin hyperpolarization will become regular,

(iv)       the COST network gets running.

We can safely state that all four aims have been reached fully or at least to a high degree. The COST Network on spin-hyperpolarization (EuroHyperPol) obtained a jump-start, a number of new contacts and collaborations were established and the community is looking forward to further meetings and summer schools in this area of research.



1. A concise version of the description and aims of the workshop. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and imaging techniques (MRI) are well known and versatile analytical methods. The key issue is frequently sensitivity limiting the applicability. To overcome this problem, various hyperpolarization methods have been developed. Within a new 4-year COST action we bring for the first time together scientists working on those different approaches to stimulate exchange between research communities which hitherto were working in parallel and unconnected.


2. Is a tangible outcome of the workshop expected? The workshop gave a full overview of what is done in the field, what strategies and methods are advantageous, what are the current scientific problems and strategies for their solution. The meeting was particularly timely as spin hyperpolarization is a hot topic now. Existence of a long waiting list of almost 40 people who intended to come but could not do so because of the limited capacity of the Lorentz-Center confirms that organizing a workshop on this subject was a right decision. The workshop triggered lively discussions, in particular in the discussion groups, and stimulated new collaborations. The workshop was the first action within a COST network and the Lorentz Workshop provided a wonderful start of this four-year process of exchange between the communities. We expect that the hyperpolarization methods discussed during the workshop will find numerous applications in the NMR and MRI.


3. Where there any developments which could, already, be termed a (beginning) scientific breakthrough? It is clear that theoretical understanding of DNP mechanisms has improved a lot and can be, perhaps, termed a breakthrough. Due to the recent works on modeling polarization exchange in large spin systems substantial progress has been achieved in this field that dates back to 1950s. Recent developments of NMR spectroscopy and hyperpolarization techniques using the long-lived spin states and long-lasting spin coherences also have huge potential in novel NMR applications. Improved spin-exchange optical pumping (SEOP) methods were introduced by several speakers and discussed at the workshop which do now allow even the production of sufficiently high amounts of hyperpolarized quadrupolar nuclei such as 83Kr which will probably open new possibilities for MRI contrast, e.g., of human lungs.


4. Did you, or to your knowledge any of the participants, experience notable “Aha” moments?Most of the participants realized that the exchange between scientists of the different approaches is very valuable since many problems are similar. In particular, this was the case with the solid-state and liquid-state CIDNP: previously the two CIDNP communities did not have a common approach and common experimental systems to study after the meeting they will hopefully cooperate. We expect that due to the workshop a synergistic effect can be achieved by cooperation of the communities dealing with spin relaxation (in particular, with the long-lived spin states) and with DNP, PHIP and CIDNP. The same is true for the communities interested in hyperpolarization of noble gases which is shown to be feasible by both, SEOP and DNP. Recent advances in experimental setup do now allow the dissolution of substances hyperpolarized by SEOP or PHIP in liquids such as blood. This will e.g. help to image blood flow in the human body.



5. How did you experience the format of the workshop? Did you try something new? Would you do it again or advise it to others? The advice of the Lorentz Center was very helpful. In particular we were suggested to give more room for free discussions and for involvement of younger scientists. Both worked out very well. The workshop offered an optimal combination of plenary talks, poster presentations, discussion rounds and presentations of young scientists. There was also enough time for informal discussions that were very helpful for establishing new scientific contacts and efficient exchange of scientific ideas.


6. Other comments. We are very grateful to the staff of the Lorentz-Center for their expert handing of all administrative matters. The workshop was a joy to organise with such friendly and professional assistance. The meeting would not have been possible without the Center’s generous financial support for which we are most grateful. We are sure that all the participants enjoyed the infrastructure of the Lorentz-Center that is optimal for a discussion meeting. It was particularly convenient that each participant had an office space and internet password. The cultural program was also perfectly organized. The only small point of criticism was that the air exchange in the seminar room is not optimal.




Eike Brunner (Dresden, Germany) 

Konstantin Ivanov (Novosibirsk, Russia) 

Walter Kφckenberger (Nottingham, United Kingdom) 

Jφrg Matysik (Leiden, Netherlands)