APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Drug binding assays
- Protein assays
- Other chemical and biological analysis
- Enables xenon NMR in miniaturized assays and portable devices
Berkeley Lab’s Alex Pines and a team of researchers have developed a technology to use hyperpolarized xenon at low magnetic fields – on the order of the Earth’s magnetic field – for chemical and biological analysis. The technology can detect smaller changes in samples than similar methods performed at high magnetic fields, making it applicable for miniaturized assays and portable imaging devices.
In the Berkeley Lab technology, a rubidium magnetometer directly monitors the magnetization of hyperpolarized xenon applied to a liquid sample and left to relax to its ground state. As the gas decays back to thermal equilibrium, the magnetic field it produces also decays, indicating changes in the chemical or biological composition of the sample.
The technology assumes xenon will bind to a target and then alter its rotational correlation time, changing the relaxation rate of xenon in solution. Changes in rotational correlation time have more dramatic effects on longitudinal relaxation rate at lower magnetic fields. Therefore, the Berkeley Lab technology enables the use of NMR without the high expense and transportation challenges of operating with a large external magnetic field.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
STATUS: Available for licensing or collaborative research.
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