Nuclear magnetic resonance characterization of general compartment size distributions

Evren Özarslan*, Noam Shemesh, Cheng Guan Koay, Yoram Cohen, Peter J. Basser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The influence of molecular diffusion on the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) signal can be exploited to estimate compartment size distributions in heterogeneous specimens. Theoreticalrelationships between the NMR signal intensity at long diffusion times and the moments of a general distribution of isolated pores with characteristic shapes (planar, cylindrical or spherical) are established. A numerical method based on expressing a general diffusion-attenuated NMR signal profile in a series of complete orthogonal basis functions is introduced and subsequently used to estimate the moments of the compartment size distribution. The results on simulated and real data obtained from controlled water-filled microcapillaries demonstrate the power ofthe approach to create contrast based not only on the mean of the compartment size but also on its variance. The technique can be used to address a variety of problems such as characterizing distributions of droplet sizes in emulsions and of apparent axon diameters in nerve fascicles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number015010
JournalNew Journal of Physics
StatePublished - Jan 2011


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