Integrated RF/shim coil array for parallel reception and localized B0 Shimming: Concepts and Design
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) image quality is strongly dependent on the homogeneity of the main magnetic field, B0. Inhomogeneities in this magnetic field lead to image artifacts such as: blurring, signal loss, and gross distortions of the imaged anatomy of the brain, degrading the images effectiveness to provide diagnostic information. A new radio-frequency (RF) head coil design with integrated direct-current (DC) shim coils to provide localized B0 shimming of the brain and simultaneously provide parallel excitation of reception is presented in this thesis. This design optimizes both the RF and DC shim coils proximity to the subject thereby maximizing both the signal-to-noise ratio and the shimming efficiency. This coil architecture is termed iPRES (integrated parallel receive, excitation and shimming).
An existing 32 channel receive-only head coil array was modified into an iPRES coil architecture. The coils of the array were modified using RF components to enable the simultaneous flow of both RF and DC currents on the same structure. The RF and DC currents provide concurrent signal reception and localized B0 shimming to the brain, respectively. In this thesis, the techniques, measurements and quality-metrics used to facilitate the iPRES coil array modification will be discussed.
The localized B0 shimming performance is evaluated in the frontal region of the brain which suffers from large susceptibility artifacts at the air/tissue boundary of the brain and the sinus. Axial B0 maps and echo-planar images (EPI) are acquired in vivo with optimized DC shim currents demonstrating a reduction in B0 inhomogeneities in the frontal lobe resulting in improved image EPI image quality. The coils quality factor and signal-to-noise ratio did not suffer as a result of the coil modification. The shimming performance and RF quality metrics are compared to standard whole-body spherical harmonic shimming and are discussed at length in the following chapters.
Finally, initial phantom results from the next-generation iPRES coil array will be presented. This architecture again uses an existing RF head coil array to simultaneously drive RF currents for reception and DC currents for local shimming. However, the shimming is further enhanced by providing additional RF-isolated shim coils which increases the shimming degrees of freedom. This design is useful when fast-changing, asymmetric B0 inhomogeneities are present in the imaged anatomy.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Rights for Collection: Masters Theses