A flexible 8.5 MHz litz wire receive array for field-cycling imaging

Robert Steven Stormont* (Corresponding Author), Gareth Davies, James Ross, David Lurie, Lionel Broche

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Low frequency coils present unique challenges as loop losses, component losses, and the supporting electronics can significantly degrade the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). SNR may already be a limiting factor with MRI at low field (and frequency), therefore the minimization of additional loss is particularly important. If interactions between loops are managed, array coils can provide increased SNR, coverage, and potentially imaging speed. In this work, we investigate methods to characterise and preserve SNR from a low frequency coil array, allowing a more geometrically conforming array for quick, no-tune application with various anatomies.

Approach: Single and multi-turn, 16.2 cm diameter litz wire loops were constructed and characterised for losses under various loading conditions. Low noise preamplifiers were acquired and characterized, as well as interfacing electronics were developed and evaluated. A bench level SNR test was implemented to observe the effects of tuning and loading on individual coils. The results were used to select a design for construction of a 6-channel, flex array coil.

Main Results: Ultra fine strand litz wire exhibited lower losses than equivalent diameter solid wire which should translate to improved SNR and provides the mechanical flexibility needed in a conforming array. Single turn loop losses were dominant under all loading conditions; however, 2 and 3 turn loops were body loss dominated under modest loading conditions. Preamplifier blocking
achieved was well short of our design goal and critical overlaps became necessary for coil-to-coil interaction control. Our finished array, a 3-channel posterior array coil and a 3-channel anterior array coil, conforms nicely to various anatomies and is providing consistent results in various volunteer
study trials.

Significance: Receive coils are challenging at low fields as loop losses often limit the final SNR. This is exacerbated in an array coil as loops may be smaller and not coupled well to the body. In this work we have demonstrated that body loss dominance is possible with 16.2 cm loops at 8.5 MHz. We have optimized, built, and tested low noise interfacing electronics and characterized the SNR
penalties as the tuning and loading is varied, a key parameter in a geometrically flexible array designed for rapid setup. The resultant 6-channel, general-purpose array is supporting various FieldCycling Imaging studies where body habitus and anatomies require a flexible, adaptable array coil which can be quickly positioned and utilized.
Original languageEnglish
Article number055016
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Volume68
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2023

Keywords

  • RF coil
  • Array
  • Low-field
  • Litz wire
  • Preamplifier
  • Noise figure
  • Signal-To_Noise
  • Flexible

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