Berkeley Lab Berkeley Lab A-Z Index Phone Book Jobs Search DOE

Nondisruptive Dissolution of Hp-129Xe into Viscous Aqueous and Organic Liquid Crystalline Environments

Nondisruptive Dissolution of Hp-129Xe into Viscous Aqueous and Organic Liquid Crystalline EnvironmentsLaser polarized xenon (bright blue spheres) can easily diffuse across fibrous membranes (purple) to characterize and investigate complex, viscous chemical environments, including liquid crystals. Each kind of chemical environment will have a unique 129Xe NMR signature, shown above as differently colored xenon atoms.

Scientific Achievement
This device enables facile dissolution of hyperpolarized xenon into fragile, viscous and anisotropic media without disrupting molecular order or otherwise damaging samples.

Significance and Impact
A completely new class of samples has been made available to hyperpolarized gas NMR, with potential applications for novel liquid crystal, protein and live cell studies and novel imaging techniques.

Research Details

  • Hollow silicone membrane fibers contain the sample and allow hyperpolarized xenon (Hp-129Xe) to diffuse into them
  • This device is compatible with existing instrumentation and tolerates both aqueous and organic solutions
  • 2H and 129Xe NMR spectra confirm persistence of molecular ordering inside the membranes after introduction into the device and data acquisition, showing that the method does not disturb or destroy fragile samples


A.E. Truxal, C.C. Slack, M.D. Gomes, Ch. C. Vassiliou, D.E. Wemmer, A. Pines, Angew. Chem. (2016) published online 8 Mar 2016, doi:10.1002/anie.201511539