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A method is presented to partially transfer nuclear spin polarization from one isotope S to another isotope I by the way of heteronuclear spin couplings, while minimizing the loss of spin order to other degrees of freedom. The desired I spin polarization to be detected is a design parameter, while the sequence of pulses at the two Larmor frequencies is optimized to store the greatest unused S spin longitudinal polarization for subsequent use. The unitary evolution for the case of I N S spin systems illustrates the potentially ideal efficiency of this strategy, which is of particular interest when the spin-lattice relaxation time of S greatly exceeds that of I. Explicit timing and pulses are tabulated for the cases for which M ⩽ 10 partial transfers each result in equal final polarization of 1/M or more compared to the final I polarization expected in a single transfer for N = 1, 2, or 3 I spins. Advantages for the ratiometric study of reacting molecules and hyperpolarized initial conditions are outlined.


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