Magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy/imaging has become one of the most successful analytical techniques for a diverse array of applications in chemistry, physics, biology, materials, and medicine. In this project funded by the Chemical Measurement and Imaging Program of the Chemistry Division, Professor Yung-Ya Lin will establish new international collaboration between UCLA and National Taiwan University (NTU) to develop innovative approaches to significantly enhance the sensitivity and contrast in MR spectroscopy and imaging, two major challenges in modern MR. This is particularly important for biomolecular MR where the atoms in the molecules of interest are only weakly magnetic, or when the molecules are present only at low concentrations.

From recent research funded by the Chemical Measurement and Imaging Program of the Chemistry Division, Prof. Lin and his coworkers have discovered and investigated nonlinear/chaotic dynamics in solution MR. The well-known "butterfly effect" or "avalanching effect" exhibited by nonlinear/chaotic systems, i.e., extreme sensitivity to initial conditions, will be developed into powerful new approaches for sensitivity/contrast enhancement for MR spectroscopy and imaging. The proposed research utilizes cutting edge techniques from both the UCLA group and the NTU group to achieve significant MR sensitivity/contrast enhancement, thereby extending its impacts to biomedicine, biochemistry, and biophysics. Its intellectual merits are: (i) Utilizing emerging aspects of nonlinear/chaotic spin dynamics for the first time to alleviate the fundamental limitation in MR sensitivity/contrast; (ii) Engineering a general sensitivity/contrast enhancement mechanism based on indirect detection and spin amplification at high fields; and (iii) Controlling the nonlinear spin dynamics and optimizing the amplification gains by an electronic feedback control device. This collaboration will be highly complementary and beneficial to both teams and is only possible through this unique combination of team members and resources. Its broader impacts are (i) Making use of unique resources and complementary capabilities and demonstrating a high level of synergy through the formation of new international collaborations; (ii) Constructing a Nonlinear MR Simulator and web-based interactive course for research, mentorship, teaching, and outreach to enable cross-fertilization between research and education.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Chemistry (CHE)
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Kelsey Cook
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University of California Los Angeles
Los Angeles
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