Direct and cost-efficient hyperpolarization of long-lived nuclear spin states on universal (15)N2-diazirine molecular tags.


Conventional magnetic resonance (MR) faces serious sensitivity limitations which can be overcome by hyperpolarization methods, but the most common method (dynamic nuclear polarization) is complex and expensive, and applications are limited by short spin lifetimes (typically seconds) of biologically relevant molecules. We use a recently developed method, SABRE-SHEATH, to directly hyperpolarize (15)N2 magnetization and long-lived (15)N2 singlet spin order, with signal decay time constants of 5.8 and 23 minutes, respectively. We find >10,000-fold enhancements generating detectable nuclear MR signals that last for over an hour. (15)N2-diazirines represent a class of particularly promising and versatile molecular tags, and can be incorporated into a wide range of biomolecules without significantly altering molecular function.





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Publication Info

Theis, T, GX Ortiz, AWJ Logan, KE Claytor, Y Feng, WP Huhn, V Blum, SJ Malcolmson, et al. (2016). Direct and cost-efficient hyperpolarization of long-lived nuclear spin states on universal (15)N2-diazirine molecular tags. Sci Adv, 2(3). p. e1501438. 10.1126/sciadv.1501438 Retrieved from

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Volker Blum

Rooney Family Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Volker Blum heads the "Ab initio materials simulations" group at Duke University. Dr. Blum's research focuses on first-principles computational materials science: using the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics to predict the properties of real materials from the atomic scale on upwards.

Specific focus areas are interface and nanoscale systems with electronic and energy applications, as well as work on molecular structure and spectroscopy. He is actively working on novel semiconductor materials, including hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites and complex chalcogenide materials. Both groups of materials hold promise as absorbers for photovoltaics (i.e., solar cells), as materials for spin-based electronics and optoelectronics, and other semiconductor applications.

Dr. Blum is the coordinator of a major computer package for computational materials and molecular science based on electronic structure theory, FHI-aims. Work in his group is interdisciplinary (touching areas of physics and chemistry in addition to materials science), with opportunities for international collaboration and exchange.

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