Original Article

Sensitivity enhancement of traveling wave MRI using free local resonators: an experimental demonstration

Xiaoliang Zhang


Background: Traveling wave MR uses the far fields in signal excitation and reception, therefore its acquisition efficiency is low in contrast to the conventional near field magnetic resonance (MR). Here we show a simple and efficient method based on the local resonator to improving sensitivity of traveling wave MR technique. The proposed method utilizes a standalone or free local resonator to amplify the radio frequency magnetic fields in the interested target. The resonators have no wire connections to the MR system and thus can be conveniently placed to any place around imaging simples.
Methods: A rectangular loop L/C resonator to be used as the free local resonator was tuned to the proton Larmor frequency at 7T. Traveling wave MR experiments with and without the wireless free local resonator were performed on a living rat using a 7T whole body MR scanner. The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) or sensitivity of the images acquired was compared and evaluated.
Results: In vivo 7T imaging results show that traveling wave MR with a wireless free local resonator placed near the head of a living rat achieves at least 10-fold SNR gain over the images acquired on the same rat using conventional traveling wave MR method, i.e. imaging with no free local resonators.
Conclusions: The proposed free local resonator technique is able to enhance the MR sensitivity and acquisition efficiency of traveling wave MR at ultrahigh fields in vivo. This method can be a simple solution to alleviating low sensitivity problem of traveling wave magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

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