Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Principles

  • Wendell A. Gibby


The discovery of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), by Purcell1 and Block,2 first revolutionized analytical chemistry, then medical imaging. As illustrated in Figure 3.1 NMR imaging has taken us to yet another dimension of diagnostic imaging in which superior contrast resolution, multi-planar capabilities, imaging of physiologic processes such as blood flow, perfusion, diffusion, cortical activation, metabolite concentrations, and motion have provided an entire new world of insight into the nervous system. This chapter explores the fundamental processes of NMR. It is a historical curiosity that the name NMR imaging was changed to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) because of the public’s perceived fear of nuclear devices. This is despite the fact that NMR is one of the safest medical tools available (see Chapter 6). Early NMR images were unimpressive3,4 by the standards of CT scanning. However, it was realized from the beginning the important contribution that NMR would make because of superior soft tissue contrast.5,6


Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Magnetic Dipole Phase Coherence Local Magnetic Field Nuclear Magnetic Reso 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

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  • Wendell A. Gibby

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