More channels driving MR advancements
Hi All – We’re excited to see the MR750 rollout after our early efforts to accelerate MR imaging using high-channel systems. After what seems like an incredibly short period, MR scanners have advanced from the 4-6 channel systems of several years ago to 32 channels, and now to, for example, our 128-channel prototype currently under research development. This has been an intense team effort combining development of RF receiver-coil arrays, MR systems integration, and pulse sequence and reconstruction work. These systems are aimed at addressing what is arguably the biggest weakness of MRI, namely its slow speeds, which are constrained by the need for the nuclear spins to relax back to equilibrium after they have been excited, and by the use of pulsed magnetic field gradients, which are fundamentally limited by their potential for causing peripheral nerve stimulation. A relatively new development called parallel imaging uses multiple RF receiver coils to take some of the load off the gradients by using the unique sensitivity pattern of each RF coil to help in the image acquisition and reconstruction. Larger numbers of RF coils enable faster imaging without excessive noise amplification – We have now been able to accelerate by up to 20-fold with our 128-channel system! We expect that this development will help open up a wide range of applications previously constrained by imaging speed.