The HYPERDIAMOND project – Horizon 2020

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The HYPERDIAMOND project, coordinated by Martin Plenio, was chosen as one of the eight projects (out of 390) selected in the Horizon 2020 call Personalizing Health and Care: Development of new diagnostic tools and technologies: in vivo medical imaging technologies.

HYPERDIAMOND marks the first translational research and innovation project coordinated by the Institute of Theoretical Physics (ITP). Unlike the previous EU projects of the institute which were research focused, HYPERDIAMOND is a research and innovation project aiming at developing a new technology for improving medical imaging, in particular the imaging of targeted molecules and processes in vivo.

Building on recent breakthroughs in molecular hyperpolarization, which proved > 10,000-fold increase in sensitivity on conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), HYPERDIAMOND will bring radical advances from the fields of quantum physics and nanotechnologies to develop a technology suitable for widespread medical use. Leveraging unique properties of NV centres in diamonds, combined with diamond surface and organic chemistry and dynamic nuclear polarization protocols, the HYPERDIAMOND project will bridge the gap between the lab and the medical setting, making two new technological devices compatible with medical imaging requirements.

In the project ITP will develop novel dynamic nuclear polarization protocols which will serve as the basis for the developed technology, model the dynamics of nuclear relaxation in nanodiamonds, and support the experiments with theory and simulations. Moreover, one of the SMEs participating in the project, NVision Imaging Technologies GmbH, is a technology spin-off of Ulm University founded by Ilai Schwartz and Martin Plenio of the ITP, ITP alumni Alex Retzker and Fedor Jelezko from the IQO. NVision is building on the research performed at ITP and the Institute of Quantum Optics to bring novel imaging technologies to real-world applications.

ITP, together with three additional institutes in Ulm University, established a truly multidisciplinary team: combining leading research institutes and 3 SMEs, with expertise ranging from molecular imaging (Austrian Institute of Technology), NMR (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), nanodiamond material science (François Rabelais University, Van-Moppes), theoretical and experimental quantum physics (University of Ulm, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, NVision Imaging Technologies), diamond surface bio-chemistry (UULM), small animal MR imaging (Hadassah Medical Center, UULM), pre-clinical expertise (UULM, Hadassah, AIT) and medical devices and magnetics production (Kanfit).

Updated: May 2016