Very low residual magnetic field and field gradients are essential for a number of high resolution fundamental physical experiments and for further improvement of very sensitive magnetic measurement devices. The scope ranges from spin precession experiments, e.g. with 3He or neutrons, to biomagnetic measurements, like magnetoencephalograms, and to low field MR spectroscopy. One method of reducing environmental magnetic noise is to use a magnetically shielded room (MSR). Here, measures are demonstrated to improve residual field and field gradient inside a common MSR by a factor of more than 10 by a specific degaussing procedure, material selection of prefabricated parts and active shielding. The process is independent of the shielding factor and works also properly for heavily shielded rooms.
The spin-lattice (T1) relaxation rates of materials depend on the strength of the external magnetic field in which the relaxation occurs. This T1 dispersion has been suggested to offer a means to discriminate between healthy and cancerous tissue by performing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at low magnetic fields. In prepolarized ultra-low-field (ULF) MRI, spin precession is detected in fields of the order of 10-100 μT. To increase the signal strength, the sample is first magnetized with a relatively strong polarizing field. Typically, the polarizing field is kept constant during the polarization period. However, in ULF MRI, the polarizing-field strength can be easily varied to produce a desired time course. This paper describes how a novel variation of the polarizing-field strength and duration can optimize the contrast between two types of tissue having different T1 relaxation dispersions. In addition, NMR experiments showing that the principle works in practice are presented. The described procedure may become a key component for a promising new approach of MRI at ultra-low fields