PASADENA hyperpolarization of 13C biomolecules: equipment design and installation



The PASADENA method has achieved hyperpolarization of 16–20% (exceeding 40,000-fold signal enhancement at 4.7 T), in liquid samples of biological molecules relevant to in vivo MRI and MRS. However, there exists no commercial apparatus to perform this experiment conveniently and reproducibly on the routine basis necessary for translation of PASADENA to questions of biomedical importance. The present paper describes equipment designed for rapid production of six to eight liquid samples per hour with high reproducibility of hyperpolarization.

Materials and methods

Drawing on an earlier, but unpublished, prototype, we provide diagrams of a delivery circuit, a laminar-flow reaction chamber within a low field NMR contained in a compact, movable housing. Assembly instructions are provided from which a computer driven, semi-automated PASADENA polarizer can be constructed.


Together with an available parahydrogen generator, the polarizer, which can be operated by a single investigator, completes one cycle of hyperpolarization each 52 s. Evidence of efficacy is presented. In contrast to competing, commercially available devices for dynamic nuclear polarization which characteristically require 90 min per cycle, PASADENA provides a low-cost alternative for high throughput.


This equipment is suited to investigators who have an established small animal NMR and wish to explore the potential of heteronuclear (13 C and 15 N) MRI, MRS, which harnesses the enormous sensitivity gain offered by hyperpolarization.

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Correspondence to Brian D. Ross.

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Hövener, JB., Chekmenev, E.Y., Harris, K.C. et al. PASADENA hyperpolarization of 13C biomolecules: equipment design and installation. Magn Reson Mater Phy 22, 111–121 (2009).

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  • Hyperpolarization
  • PASADENA polarizer
  • 13Carbon
  • Parahydrogen
  • Hydroxyethylacrylate
  • PHIP