Forced Current Excitation in Selectable Field of View Coils for 7T MRI and MRS
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High field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides improved signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) which can be translated to higher image resolution or reduced scan time. 7 Tesla (T) breast imaging and 7 T spine imaging are of clinical value, but they are challenging for several reasons: A bilateral breast coil requires the use of closely-spaced elements that are subject to severe mutual coupling which leads to uncontrollable current distribution and non-uniform field pattern; A spine coil at 7T requires a large field of view (FOV) in the z direction and good RF penetration into the human body. Additionally, the ability to switch FOV without the use of expensive high power RF amplifiers is desired in both applications. This capability would allow reconfigurable power distribution and avoid unnecessary heat deposition into human body. Forced-Current Excitation (FCE) is a transmission line-based method that maintains equal current distribution across an array, alleviating mutual coupling effects and allowing current/field replication across a large FOV. At the same time, the nature of this method enables selectable FOV with the inclusion of PIN diodes and a controller. In this doctoral work, the theory of FCE is explained in detail, along with its benefits and drawbacks. Electromagnetic simulation considerations of FCE-driven coils are also discussed. Two FCE-driven coils were designed and implemented: a switchable bilateral/unilateral 7T breast coil, and a segmented dipole for spine imaging at 7T with reconfigurable length. For the breast coil, shielded loop elements were used to form a volume coil, whereas for the spine coil, a segmented dipole was chosen as the final design due to improved RF penetration. Electromagnetic simulations were performed to assist the design of the two coils as well as to predict the SAR (specific absorption rate) generated in the phantom. The coils were evaluated on bench and through MRI experiments in different configurations to validate the design. The switchable breast coil provides uniform excitation in both unilateral and bilateral mode. In unilateral mode, the signal in the contralateral breast is successfully suppressed and higher power is concentrated into the breast of interest; The segmented dipole was compared to a regular dipole with the same length used for 7T spine imaging. The segmented dipole shows a large FOV in the long mode. In the short mode, the residual signal from other part of the dipole is successfully suppressed. The ability to switch FOV and reconfigure the power distribution improves the B1 generated with unit specific absorption rate towards the edge of the dipole, compared to the regular dipole.
forced current excitation
Cui, Jiaming (2017). Forced Current Excitation in Selectable Field of View Coils for 7T MRI and MRS. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from