March 21, 2007

High field magnets exponentially better at imaging

Nuclear magnetic resonance, or NMR, generates a true-to-life fingerprint - a unique pattern indicating the presence of specific molecules - for a research sample that is being analyzed. It has been found that a higher power magnet (21.1 tesla) increases the picture's brightness by a factor of about 10 relative to low-field images (14.1 tesla) Up to 18 times less sample is needed and experiments can take minutes instead of hours. Theorists had predicted a linear increase in both resolution and sensitivity at higher magnetic fields. The FSU team members observed an exponential increase - with the sensitivity increasing by a factor of three over what had been predicted.

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