Improved PHIP polarization using a precision, low noise, voltage controlled current source

J Magn Reson. 2013 Oct;235:77-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jmr.2013.08.001. Epub 2013 Aug 12.


Existing para-hydrogen induced polarization (PHIP) instrumentation relies on magnetic fields to hyperpolarize substances. These hyperpolarized substances have enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signals over 10,000 fold, allowing for MRI at the molecular level. Required magnetic fields are generated by energizing a solenoid coil with current produced by a voltage controlled voltage source (VCVS), also known as a power supply. A VCVS lacks the current regulation necessary to keep magnetic field fluctuations to a minimum, which results in low PHIP polarization. A voltage controlled current source (VCCS) is an electric circuit that generates a steady flow of electrons proportional to an input voltage. A low noise VCCS provides the solenoid current flow regulation necessary to generate a stable static magnetic field (Bo). We discuss the design and implementation of a low noise, high stability, VCCS for magnetic field generation with minimum variations. We show that a precision, low noise, voltage reference driving a metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor (MOSFET) based current sink, results in the current flow control necessary for generating a low noise and high stability Bo. In addition, this work: (1) compares current stability for ideal VCVS and VCCS models using transfer functions (TF), (2) develops our VCCS design's TF, (3) measures our VCCS design's thermal & 1/f noise, and (4) measures and compares hydroxyethyl-propionate (HEP) polarization obtained using a VCVS and our VCCS. The hyperpolarization of HEP was done using a PHIP instrument developed in our lab. Using our VCCS design, HEP polarization magnitude data show a statistically significant increase in polarization over using a VCVS. Circuit schematic, bill of materials, board layout, TF derivation, and Matlab simulations code are included as supplemental files.

Keywords: (13)C; HEA; HEP; Hyperpolarization; PHIP instrumentation; VCCS; VCVS.