LabVIEW-based control software for para-hydrogen induced polarization instrumentation

Rev Sci Instrum. 2014 Apr;85(4):044705. doi: 10.1063/1.4870797.


The elucidation of cell metabolic mechanisms is the modern underpinning of the diagnosis, treatment, and in some cases the prevention of disease. Para-Hydrogen induced polarization (PHIP) enhances magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signals over 10,000 fold, allowing for the MRI of cell metabolic mechanisms. This signal enhancement is the result of hyperpolarizing endogenous substances used as contrast agents during imaging. PHIP instrumentation hyperpolarizes Carbon-13 ((13)C) based substances using a process requiring control of a number of factors: chemical reaction timing, gas flow, monitoring of a static magnetic field (Bo), radio frequency (RF) irradiation timing, reaction temperature, and gas pressures. Current PHIP instruments manually control the hyperpolarization process resulting in the lack of the precise control of factors listed above, resulting in non-reproducible results. We discuss the design and implementation of a LabVIEW based computer program that automatically and precisely controls the delivery and manipulation of gases and samples, monitoring gas pressures, environmental temperature, and RF sample irradiation. We show that the automated control over the hyperpolarization process results in the hyperpolarization of hydroxyethylpropionate. The implementation of this software provides the fast prototyping of PHIP instrumentation for the evaluation of a myriad of (13)C based endogenous contrast agents used in molecular imaging.

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Isotopes / chemistry
  • Hydrogen / chemistry*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Propionates / chemistry
  • Software*


  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Propionates
  • Hydrogen