The causes of migraines are not well understood, with treatment limited to addressing pain rather than its origin. Research conducted with hydrogen MRI is attempting to identify the "migraine generator."

Scientists measured the first in vivo images of stimulated current within the brain using an imaging method that may improve reproducibility and safety, and help understand the mechanisms of action of electrical stimulation.

In this study, researchers added a low concentration of the endohedral metallofullerene (EMF) Gd2@C79N to DNP samples, finding that 1H and 13C enhancements increased by 40% and 50%, respectively, at 5 teslas and 1.2 Kelvin.

Producing a high magnetic field that is also very stable and uniform, the unique Series Connected Hybrid magnet is being put to work on NMR experiments never before possible.

Observing growth processes in classical alloys is extremely difficult; scientists overcame this by studying quantum systems.

Scientists are welcoming a new MRI machine at the National MagLab that provides the best spatial resolution available for human imaging, making it a powerful tool for nationwide, multi-site health research.

Manufactured by Siemens, the state-of-the-art, whole-body scanner is powered by a 3-tesla magnet (tesla is a unit of magnetic field strength). But it's not the machine’s main magnetic field — on a par with many hospital MRIs — that makes the instrument special. Rather, the unit features the most powerful gradient magnet fields available, which help generate very sharp images of very tiny anatomical structures.

“Gradients provide the high spatial resolution in MRI, and with the new system we get the localization we need for small structures,” said Joanna Long, director of the MagLab's Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy (AMRIS) facility at the University of Florida, where the new instrument is located.

For anyone who has been inside an MRI machine, the gradient magnetic fields are responsible for that unpleasant racket you hear; technicians trigger them to target different areas of the body. But they also help generate more precise images – in this case, around a millimeter in resolution, allowing scientists to see bundles of neurons inside the brain. (Learn more about how MRI machines work).

As one of a number of similar machines recently installed around the country, the new system will enable researchers working at AMRIS to participate in large-scale, multi-site health studies. For example, some AMRIS researchers are using the machine as part of a years-long study to track brain cognitive development in adolescents. Others will use it for research on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disorders. Glenn Walter, an associate professor in physiology and functional genomics at the University of Florida, is using it to develop MRI techniques to assess how effective drugs are at treating muscular dystrophy, a less invasive approach than muscle biopsy.

By allowing MagLab users to participate in such longitudinal studies, the $3 million system will yield high research dividends. “It's a really good example of how the magnetic resonance research program at the MagLab can leverage something bigger,” Long said.

To celebrate a trio of recent upgrades, including the new MRI machine, added dynamic nuclear polarization capabilities, and a new console for the 11-tesla MRI/S system, AMRIS hosted a reception and symposium this week.

Text by Kristen Coyne; Image courtesy of AMRIS.

Scientists using an MRI-friendly oxygen isotope have demonstrated a promising and safe method for identifying cancerous tumors.

Combining tremendous strength with a high-quality field, the MagLab’s newest instrument promises big advances in interdisciplinary research.

Using an advanced technique, scientists discover that one of the most common substances in our everyday lives — glass — is more complex than we thought.

This week at the lab, we’re turning up the heat.

Really high.

It's summer at MagLab headquarters in Tallahassee, Fla., and the mercury's rising accordingly. But things are really sizzling in our Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Magnetic Resonance Imaging / Spectroscopy Facility thanks to our new high-temperature laser probe.

At the MagLab, scientists attach the samples they are studying to fancy sticks called probes that they then insert into our powerful magnets. In addition to getting specimens into the magnet, many probes have specific capabilities that allow researchers to get the data they need to answer important scientific questions about materials, energy and life.

The unique capability of the new laser probe is to heat the sample up to a blistering 850 degree Celsius (1,562 degrees Fahrenheit), thanks to a laser beam about a millimeter wide. That alone is pretty cool — errr, hot. But on top of that, it spins the sample around 5,000 times a second, which results in data with much higher resolution data.

The new probe, made by Bruker Biospin Corp., is only the third of its kind in the world, said MagLab chemist Yan-Yan Hu.

"This is the first one in the United States," Hu said. "It's going to be exciting for people to do research that they haven't been able to do before."

Most of those scientists will be doing energy-related research on high-efficiency batteries and fuel cells that operate at intermediate to very high temperatures.

The new probe, to be used with the lab's 500 MHz 89 mm NMR magnet, is a big improvement on previous high-temperature probes, which used gas to heat up the sample. Those probes also had the unwanted consequence of warming up the probe's electronics as well as the magnet.

At the MagLab, we prefer the superconducting magnets to stay pretty cold.

The science, however, is always red hot.


Text and photo by Kristen Coyne.

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