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A distributed active NMR sensor array for artifact correction in ultra high field MRI applications

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Eschelbach,  Martin
Department High-Field Magnetic Resonance, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Scheffler,  Klaus
Department High-Field Magnetic Resonance, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Handwerker, J., Hoffmann, A., Eschelbach, M., Scheffler, K., Ortmanns, M., & Anders, L. (2014). A distributed active NMR sensor array for artifact correction in ultra high field MRI applications. Biomedical Engineering / Biomedizinische Technik, 59(Supplement 1), S530.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-335D-E
Abstract
Introduction We present a distributed sensor array for the real-time monitoring of magnetic field imperfections in magnetic resoncance imaging (MRI) scanners. These imperfections occur due to hardware limitations originating from non-ideal gradient coils as well as patient motion and lead to artifacts which limit the achievable imaging quality especially for ultra high field scanners. By monitoring these imperfections, the artifacts can be corrected by either a predistortion of the gradient waveforms or during image reconstruction. Methods The presented sensor array consists of four active transmit/receive (TX/RX) field probes and signal conditioning electronics on a printed circuit board (PCB). The field probes consist of a glass capillary (din = 800 μm) filled with a liquid NMR sample surrounded by a solenoid TX/RX coil which is connected via a tuning/matching network to a homodyne quadrature transceiver. The proposed system is an extension of the work presented in [1] to an array of sensors which allows for an artifact correction based on first order spherical harmonic base functions. Furthermore, we use a 19F instead of a 1H NMR sample to reduce coupling between sensor and imaging object and a significantly enhanced the transceiver architecture and layout. The field probes are connected using differential, impedance-matched cables to the signal conditioning board which provides line drivers and anti-aliasing filters and interfaces to a commercial data acquisition system (USB-6366, National Instruments) with 2 MS/s and 16 bit resolution. Results The sensor array has an input amplitude ranging from <2.2 μVRMS - 78.4 mVRMS and accepts input frequencies between 175 MHz - 660 MHz, corresponding to field strengths of 4.4 T - 16.4 T for 19F samples. The detector gain can be adjusted between 21 dB and 81 dB with a noise figure of 2.74 dB for quadrature detection. The on-board transmitter generates a peak power of 18.7 dBm, resulting in a 90° pulse time <10 μs. The sensor array was successfully tested in a 9.4 T wholebody scanner and a 11.7 T small animal scanner and achieved a frequency resolution <5 ppb. Conclusion In contrast to previously published RX-only [2] and TX/RX [3] field probes, the active field probe array presended here eliminates the need for long RF cables inside the scanner due to a local generation of the RF signal required for excitation and downconversion of the NMR signal, reducing the crosstalk with the imaging experiment and therefore improving the accuracy of the recorded data. Currently, we are working on an implementation of the field probe electronics as a custom designed integrated circuit to further reduce crosstalk and power consumption and improve system performance.