Microtesla MRI with a superconducting quantum interference device

TitleMicrotesla MRI with a superconducting quantum interference device
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsMcDermott R, Lee S.K, B. Haken ten, Trabesinger A.H, Pines A, Clarke J
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Date PublishedMay 25
ISBN Number0027-8424
Accession NumberWOS:000221652000005

MRI scanners enable fast, noninvasive, and high-resolution imaging of organs and soft tissue. The images are reconstructed from NMR signals generated by nuclear spins that precess in a static magnetic field B(0) in the presence of magnetic field gradients. Most clinical MRI scanners operate at a magnetic field B(0) = 1.5 T, corresponding to a proton resonance frequency of 64 MHz. Because these systems rely on large superconducting magnets, they are costly and demanding of infrastructure. On the other hand, low-field imagers have the potential to be less expensive, less confining, and more mobile. The major obstacle is the intrinsically low sensitivity of the low-field NMR experiment. Here, we show that prepolarization of the nuclear spins and detection with a superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) yield a signal that is independent of B(0), allowing acquisition of high-resolution MRIs in microtesla fields. Reduction of the strength of the measurement field eliminates inhomogeneous broadening of the NMR lines, resulting in enhanced signal-to-noise ratio and spatial resolution for a fixed strength of the magnetic field gradients used to encode the image. We present high-resolution images of phantoms and other samples and T(1)-weighted contrast images acquired in highly inhomogeneous magnetic fields of 132 muT; here, T, is the spin-lattice relaxation time. These techniques could readily be adapted to existing multichannel SQUID systems used for magnetic source imaging of brain signals. Further potential applications include low-cost systems for tumor screening and imaging peripheral regions of the body.

URL<Go to ISI>://WOS:000221652000005
Short TitleMicrotesla MRI with a superconducting quantum interference device
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