ABSTRACT: A number of recent reports in the MRI literature have established that substantial signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) gains can be achieved with small samples or low resonance frequencies, through the use of high-quality factor high-temperature superconducting (HTS) RF receive coils. We show the application of HTS coils to the imaging of human subjects with improved SNR compared with copper coils.
HTS coils were constructed from 7.62-cm YBa2Cur3O7-delta thin films on LaAlO3 substrate and cooled in a liquid nitrogen cryostat. Human and phantom images were acquired on a 0.2-T scanner. The SNR improvements compared with equivalent-sized copper coils are reported.
SNR gains of 2.8-fold and 1.4-fold were observed in images of a phantom acquired with an HTS coil versus a room temperature copper coil and a liquid nitrogen-cooled copper coil, respectively. Preliminary results suggest higher image quality can be obtained in vivo with an HTS coil compared with copper coil imaging. Images of human orbit, brain, temporomandibular joint, and wrist are presented.
The experimental results show that benefits can be expected from application of HTS surface coils in human MR imaging with low-field scanners. These potential benefits justify the continued development of practical HTS coil imaging systems despite the considerable technical difficulties involved in cryostat and coil design.
Academic Radiology 10/2003; 10(9):978-87. · 1.69 Impact Factor