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Nanodiamond is poised to become an attractive material for hyperpolarized 13C magnetic resonance imaging if large nuclear polarizations can be achieved without the accompanying rapid spin-relaxation driven by paramagnetic species. Here we report enhanced and long-lived 13C polarization in synthetic nanodiamonds tailored by acid-cleaning and air-oxidation protocols. Our results separate the contributions of different paramagnetic species on the polarization behavior, identifying the importance of substitutional nitrogen defect centers in the nanodiamond core. These results are likely of use in the development of nanodiamond-based imaging agents with size distributions of relevance for examining biological processes.
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