Detecting diffusion-diffraction patterns in size distribution phantoms using double-pulsed field gradient NMR: Theory and experiments

Noam Shemesh, Evren Özarslan, Peter J. Basser, Yoram Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


NMR observable nuclei undergoing restricted diffusion within confining pores are important reporters for microstructural features of porous media including, inter-alia, biological tissues, emulsions and rocks. Diffusion NMR, and especially the single-pulsed field gradient (s-PFG) methodology, is one of the most important noninvasive tools for studying such opaque samples, enabling extraction of important microstructural information from diffusion-diffraction phenomena. However, when the pores are not monodisperse and are characterized by a size distribution, the diffusion-diffraction patterns disappear from the signal decay, and the relevant microstructural information is mostly lost. A recent theoretical study predicted that the diffusion-diffraction patterns in double-PFG (d-PFG) experiments have unique characteristics, such as zero-crossings, that make them more robust with respect to size distributions. In this study, we theoretically compared the signal decay arising from diffusion in isolated cylindrical pores characterized by lognormal size distributions in both s-PFG and d-PFG methodologies using a recently presented general framework for treating diffusion in NMR experiments. We showed the gradual loss of diffusion-diffraction patterns in broadening size distributions in s-PFG and the robustness of the zero-crossings in d-PFG even for very large standard deviations of the size distribution. We then performed s-PFG and d-PFG experiments on well-controlled size distribution phantoms in which the ground-truth is well-known a priori. We showed that the microstructural information, as manifested in the diffusion-diffraction patterns, is lost in the s-PFG experiments, whereas in d-PFG experiments the zero-crossings of the signal persist from which relevant microstructural information can be extracted. This study provides a proof of concept that d-PFG may be useful in obtaining important microstructural features in samples characterized by size distributions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number034703
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 21 Jan 2010


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