Alexander Pines
Glenn T. Seaborg Professor of Chemistry and Faculty Affiliate, California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, UC Berkeley, Senior Scientist, Materials Sciences Division, LBNL
Department of Chemistry
(510) 642-1220

Research Expertise and Interest

Theory and experiment in magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging, quantum coherence and decoherence, novel concepts and methods including molecular and biomolecular sensors and microfluidics, laser hyperpolarization and detection, laser and zero-field NMR, in areas from material science to biomedicine.


Prof. Pines' research program involves the development of new nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods and their application to exemplary problems spanning chemistry, materials science, and biomedicine. The laboratory has introduced NMR techniques that make it possible to probe the structure, dynamics, and function of materials in the solid state. Current research interests involve novel approaches to spin polarization, detection, molecular sensing, and miniaturization. Examples include the technology of hyperpolarized xenon molecular sensing, by which magnetic resonance spectra and images can be labeled with chemical, structural, and functional information; the combination of optical spectroscopy and magnetic resonance to provide new experiments that retain the optimal properties of each technique; and the development of portable analytical devices for chemical, materials, and biomedical analyses, based on microfluidics and miniaturized NMR and MRI.

In Research News

Schematic illustration of Earth’s magnetic field.
August 19, 2014

Earth’s magnetic field, a familiar directional indicator over long distances, is routinely probed in applications ranging from geology to archaeology. Now it has provided the basis for a technique which might, one day, be used to characterize the chemical composition of fluid mixtures in their native environments.

July 6, 2011

By pairing an R&D 100 award-winning remote-detection version of NMR/MRI technology with a unique version of chromatography specifically designed for microfluidic chips, Berkeley Lab researchers have opened the door to a portable system for highly sensitive multi-dimensional chemical analysis that would be impractical if not impossible with conventional technologies.

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