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ABSTRACT: We developed an ultra-low field (ULF)-nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) measurement system capable of working with a measurement field (Bm) of several micro-tesla and performed basic NMR studies with a double relaxation oscillation superconducting quantum interference device (DROS) instead of conventional dc-SQUIDs. DROS is a SQUID sensor utilizing a relaxation oscillation between a dc-SQUID and a relaxation circuit; the new unit consists of an inductor and a resistor, and is connected in parallel with the SQUID. DROS has a 10 times larger flux-to-voltage transfer coefficient (∼mV/ϕ0) than that of the dc-SQUID, and this large transfer coefficient enables the acquisition of the SQUID signal with a simple flux-locked-loop (FLL) circuit using room temperature pre-amplifiers. The DROS second-order gradiometer showed average field noise of 9.2 μϕ0/√Hz in a magnetically shielded room (MSR). In addition, a current limiter formed of a Josephson junction array was put in a flux-transformer of DROS to prevent excessive currents that can be generated from the high pre-polarization field (Bp). Using this system, we measured an 1H NMR signal in water under 2.8 μT Bm field and reconstructed a one-dimensional MR image from the 1H NMR signal under a gradient field BG of 4.09 nT/mm. In addition, we confirmed that the ULF-NMR system can measure the NMR signal in the presence of metal without any distortion by measuring the NMR signal of a sample wrapped with metal. Lastly, we have measured the scalar J-coupling of trimethylphosphate and were able to confirm a clear doublet NMR signal with the coupling strength J3[P,H] = 10.4 ± 0.8 Hz. Finally, because the existing ULF-NMR/MRI studies were almost all performed with dc-SQUID based systems, we constructed a dc-SQUID-based ULF-NMR system in addition to the DROS based system and compared the characteristics of the two different systems by operating the two systems under identical experimental conditions.
Journal of Applied Physics 09/2011; 110(5):053906. · 2.21 Impact Factor