Regulatory approved hyperpolarisation labs

We have world class facilities for spin exchange optical pumping hyperpolarisation of noble gases (xenon-129 and helium-3).

Regulatory approved  hyperpolarisation labs
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These provide an environment for routine dispensing of hyperpolarised xenon for clinical MRI scans under a UK regulatory licence (MHRA GMP licence – MS 18739), as well as for performing basic atomic physics experiments to optimise the polarisation process.   

Our polarisers have been tested in other centres and we perform contract consultancy work on all aspects from the engineering hardware through to the regulatory process.

Polarisers Systems & Equipment


129Xe polarisers at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital:

  • Laser diode outputting 200W of circularly polarised light @ 795 nm (Rb D1 transition)
  • 80 cm length cylindrical optical glass cell containing rubidium
  • Electromagnet: 4 square coils (100 cm side length) generating a 3mT homogeneous field over the cell length
  • Cryostat (liquid N2 dewar) and permanent magnet (NdBFe, 250mT) for freezing and thawing xenon
  • Ceramic oven for housing the optical cell and generating rubidium vapour
  • NMR spectrometer for measuring 129Xe polarisation

129Xe polarisers at the Northern General Hospital:

  • Laser diode outputting 200W of circularly polarised light @ 795 nm
  • 80 cm length cylindrical optical glass cell containing rubidium
  • Electromagnet: 4 square coils (100 cm side length) generating a 3mT homogeneous field over the cell length
  • Cryostat (liquid N2 dewar) and permanent magnet (NdBFe, 250mT) for freezing and thawing xenon
  • Ceramic oven for housing the optical cell and generating rubidium vapour
  • NMR spectrometer for measuring 129Xe polarisation

Portable 129Xe polariser at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital:

  • Laser diode outputting 80W of circularly polarised light @ 795 nm
  • 40 cm length cylindrical optical glass cell containing rubidium
  • Electromagnet: 4 square coils (100 cm side length) generating a 3mT homogeneous field over the cell length
  • Cryostat (liquid N2 dewar) and permanent magnet (NdBFe, 250mT) for freezing and thawing xenon
  • Ceramic oven for housing the optical cell and generating rubidium vapour
  • NMR spectrometer for measuring 129Xe polarisation

3He polarisers at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital:

  • Laser diode outputting 70W of circularly polarised light @ 795 nm
  • 10 cm diameter optical glass cell containing rubidium

Preclinical 13C DNP Hypersense polariser in the Alfred Denny Building

Argon glove box

REF 2021 illustration

Research Excellence Framework 2021 results

The results demonstrate our research and impact excellence across a broad range of disciplines and confirm that our research is having a significant positive impact on lives across the globe.