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ic-automation Helios

09.11.06

Equipment for generating hyperpolarised helium provides new opportunities in nuclear research and medical technology.

In conjunction with physicists at the Johannes-Gutenberg University in Mainz, ic-automation, based in Mainz, has now developed the Helios system. Helios is the most efficient commercially available equipment for generating hyperpolarised helium. As with a number of existing developments from ic-automation, this machine is also based on the dynamic MB Building Kit System made by item, in Solingen, Germany.

How the machine works

Helium in its natural form consists of a positively charged nucleus (two protons) with two negatively charged electrons circling them. Apart from the normal form of helium (helium-4) there is an isotope which is rarely found on Earth, helium-3, which only has one neutron in its nucleus (or helion). Helium is chemically inert and is not known to have any detrimental effects on human tissue. The helions of helium-3 have a curious property: they exhibit an inherent spin. Like minute gyroscopes they revolve around their own axis in any direction. The machine manufactured by ic-automation produces polarised helium in such a way that all the directions of spin are aligned with each other (hyperpolarisation). At a low pressure, gas is discharged, in a way similar to neon lights. This gas discharge provides the initial energy required to allow the helions to be polarised using lasers. For transport purposes, this polarised gas is pressurised at up to 3 bar. The polarisation effect can be maintained for several days if correctly stored.

ic automation helios en
09.08.2011
232.08 kB download
ic automation helios en
09.08.2011
763 kB download
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