Associate Professor & Reader in Physics, Faculty of Science
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) are important tools in many scientific disciplines, including medical diagnostics, molecular biology, pharmaceutical… read more
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) are important tools in many scientific disciplines, including medical diagnostics, molecular biology, pharmaceutical and material sciences. However, due to fundamental principles that relate to the low energy of interaction between a strong magnetic field and the weak magnetic moment of certain nuclei such as hydrogen, the sensitivity of these techniques is usually low in comparison to other spectroscopic techniques. I am currently involved in the design and testing of an novel spectrometer which will provide much higher sensitivity. The instrument relies on exploiting the interaction between unpaired electrons and nuclear spins in a process called dynamic nuclear polarisation (DNP). The approach is technically very challenging since it requires the accommodation of two iso-centres within a superconductive magnet. The realisation of such a prototype instrument will have strong impact on many research areas since the generation of a much stronger NMR signal will open up a range of novel applications such as NMR microscopy with very high spatial resolution and very fast spectroscopy of the interaction of different nuclei. For instance, it will make micro-imaging and spectroscopic studies on a single cell level possible or it may enable us to perform NMR spectroscopy experiments with very high temporal resolution.
I am also interested in theoretical aspects of DNP and the use of parahydrogen to enhance the NMR signal. In this context I have used principles based on optimal control to design strategies for the distribution of spin polarisation in a system containing more than two coupled spins. Further details of NMR and MRI research projects can be found on the Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Centre webpage. Current Teaching Biomedical Physics (F31AB1) Molecular Biophysics (F32SB3) Computational Physics (F32SC2)