Modular Hyperpolarized Helium-3 Gas Production by MEOP Technique for Medical Applications

Onofrio Losito, Vincenzo Dimiccoli, Fabio Pagliara, and Raffaele Prisco


MEOP tecnique, hyperpolarized ³He, lung imaging


Rcecently the hyperpolarized helium (3He) gas used as a new contrast agent for lung imaging diagnostic, like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), is becoming an important technique for diagnosing diseases and abnormalities in the respiratory tract. In the paper a new modular production of Helium-3 (3He) gas hyperpolarized using the metastability exchange optical pumping technique (MEOP) is described. By this new modular device we are able to produce at the pressure of 1000 mbar 1 l of 3He polarized gas, using two modular low-pressure optical pumping cell each of 4 l surrounded by magnetic field which transfers through non-magnetic peristaltic compressor the 3He gas to the storage cell. A 27% of polarization at a pressure of 1 mbar is obtained in the optical pumping cell in a single run, while a time of about 20 minutes is needed to pump the gas at final pressure of 1000 mbar in the storage cell.

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