Over the past ten years, a variety of techniques have been proposed and demonstrated that enable the spatial discrimination and mapping of nuclear-magnetic-resonance (NMR) signals in heterogeneous objects. These NMR imaging techniques are currently finding useful application in clinical medicine and physiological chemistry, where their noninvasive, apparently hazard-free nature, and the sensitivity of the NMR signal to the state of biological tissue, are key advantages. This article reviews the historical development, the conceptual basis, and the applications of the various NMR imaging techniques. Qualitative descriptions and illustrations of each technique and an outline of imaging instrumentation are provided. Proton NMR imaging, in medicine, of pathological states such as cancer, imaging of relaxation time, chemical shift and flow parameters, imaging of nuclei other than hydrogen, and potential hazards are discussed and demonstrated with examples.
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