August 13, 2020

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Indian scientists research sensitivity-enhancing of magnetic resonance techniques

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According to a press statement released by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), a recipient of the INSPIRE Faculty fellowship has created a project primarily aimed at enhancing the sensitivity of magnetic resonance techniques.

Dr Vinayak Rane from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is working to enhance the sensitivity of both electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), by altering the spin populations transiently.

So far, his group has successfully synthesised an EPR spin probe, which can generate 300 times stronger EPR signal at room temperature.

Magnetic resonance and optical spectroscopy are two powerful tools which have been the pillars of scientific investigation for many years. Importantly, the optical methods remain the primary choice when the problem being investigated demands high sensitivity.

Image credit: Department of Science and Technology

The inferior sensitivity of the magnetic resonance-based techniques is mainly due to the small population difference between the magnetic levels under usual experimental conditions. In fact, this issue is severely faced by researchers working in biological systems because of their limited sample volumes.

The strong signal enhancement produced by the team causes the saturation of the EPR detection system. This is the largest enhancement demonstrated so far in any radical spin systems. Moreover, this strong EPR enhancement can be transferred to nuclei in order to enhance the NMR signals (via the dynamic nuclear polarization protocol).

These results have already been noticed by the researchers working in National Magnetic Resonance Laboratory, Florida, and they have now taken up this challenge of coupling the EPR and NMR enhancements. Dr Rane is also a part of this collaboration.

The results have been published in the 2019 edition of where the large EPR enhancement has been shown. Also, collaborative work has been initiated between Florida’s Maglab researchers and Dr Rane’s group.

On successfully demonstrating the NMR enhancements further, many fields where NMR is used, such as medical and pharmaceutical fields, will potentially benefit from the team’s efforts.

Another group of researchers under DST, have developed a starch-based ‘hemostat’ material that concentrates the natural clotting factors in blood by physically absorbing excess fluid.

According to a press release, the biodegradable microparticles that combine to form a gel on a wound, offer significant improvement over existing alternatives.

The early-stage development of the material has been published in the journal Materialia, and the team hope to develop a versatile, potentially life-saving, and inexpensive product that would be a more realistic solution for lower-income economies worldwide.

The product has increased absorption capacity. It is inexpensive, biocompatible, and biodegradable.

By chemically modifying natural starch to form microparticles, the research team has combined the advantages of biocompatibility and biodegradability with a five- to ten-fold increase in fluid absorption and much-improved adhesion. When the microparticles combine, they create an adherent gel that can remain on the wound until slowly dissipating as healing proceeds.

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