Recycle of 3he for High Resolution Lung Imaging

Period of Performance: 07/01/2001 - 06/30/2002


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Creare, Inc.
16 Great Hollow Road Array
Hanover, NH 03755
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (Applicant's abstract verbatim): Noble gas isotopes that can be nuclear spin-polarized are very attractive imaging agents because of their high detection sensitivity for nuclear magnetic resonance. In particular, spin-polarized 3He enables fast, gas-space imaging of the lungs and airways for clinical diagnosis and physiological studies. Unfortunately, the limited availability of 3He severely limits the number of high-resolution lung imaging studies that can be performed. We propose to develop a system to recover and recycle the rare helium isotope so that high-resolution lung imaging can become common and inexpensive. The innovation is a cryogenic gas separation system that extracts and purifies the 3He from a patient's exhalation stream and saves it for re-polarization and reuse in other patients. In Phase I we proved the feasibility of the 3He recovery system by (1) performing a proof-of-concept test that demonstrates the feasibility of efficiently separating, purifying, and sterilizing the 3He from exhalation gases, and (2) producing a conceptual design of a complete system to recover and recycle 3He. In Phase II we will build and demonstrate a complete recovery and recycling system. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: Not Available