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Chapter 2
Basic Nuclear
Magnetic Resonance

• Magnetic Properties of Protons

• Larmor Frequency

• NMR Signal

• T1 Recovery

• T2 Relaxation

• T2* Dephasing

• Spin Echo Formation

The previous chapter discussed the very basic physical principles that you should have at least a passing familiarity with. The foundation has been laid. This chapter will build the framework. Magnetic Resonance Imaging has at its root the chemical technique known as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. As every chemist knows, the use of the word "Nuclear" has nothing to do with radioactivity, but since the general population is not composed of mostly chemists, the medical community has dropped that emotion laden word to become, simply, MRI.

Spinning Protons Act
Like Little Magnets

As we learned earlier, a moving electric charge, be it positive or negative, produces a magnetic field. The faster it moves or the larger the charge, the larger the magnetic field it produces. Some of the basic properties of a simple proton include mass, a positive electric charge and spin. Granted, a proton does not have a very large electric charge, but it does spin very fast and, therefore, does produce a small, but noticeable, magnetic field. Water is the biggest source of protons in the body, followed by fat (how closely followed depends upon what shape you're in.) Normally, the direction that these tiny magnets point in is randomly distributed.

Spinning protons are little magnets which are frequently referred to as just spins.


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