Overhauser enhanced MRI (OMRI) is one of the free radical imaging technologies and has been used in biomedical research such as for partial oxygen measurements in tumor, and redox status in acute oxidative diseases. The external magnetic field of OMRI is frequently in the range of 5–10 mTesla to ensure microwave penetration into small animals, and the S/N ratio is limited. In this study, a 0.15 Tesla OMRI was constructed and tested to improve the S/N ratio for a small sample, or skin measurement. Specification of the main magnet was as follows: 0.15 Tesla permanent magnet; gap size 160 mm; homogenous spherical volume of 80 mm in diameter. The OMRI resonator was designed based on TE101 cavity mode and machined from a phosphorus deoxidized copper block for electron spin resonance (ESR) excitation and a solenoid transmission/receive resonator for NMR detection. The resonant frequencies and Q values were 6.38 MHz/150 and 4.31– 4.41 GHz/120 for NMR and ESR, respectively. The Q values were comparable to those of conventional low field OMRI resonators at 15 mTesla. As expected, the MRI S/N ratio was improved by a factor of 30. Triplet dynamic nuclear polarization spectra were observed for 14N carboxy-PROXYL, along the excitation microwave sweep. In the current setup, the enhancement factor was ca. 0.5. In conclusion, the results of this preliminary evaluation indicate that the 0.15 Tesla OMRI could be useful for free radical measurement for small samples.
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