RF Electronics & Medical Imaging Laboratory

Mission

The primary mission of the RF Electronics and Medical Imaging Laboratory is to design radiofrequency (RF) coils and electronics for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

About MRI RF Coils

In MRI, RF coils are used to excite the nuclei inside the imaged subject and also to receive the weak signals emitted by these nuclei as they precess in a strong magnetic field.

The needs for RF coils are very diverse in MRI, ranging from large volume coils for human full-body or head imaging to arrays of smaller but more sensitive surface coils that must receive signals simultaneously, down to tiny coils used for imaging small animals, such as mice and rats, for research purposes.

Besides the sizes and shapes, the field strength in MRI has a dramatic impact on RF coil design because the RF operating frequency is directly proportional to the magnetic field strength of the main magnet. Increasing the main magnetic field strength has a direct impact on the amount of MRI signal available, such that higher-quality images, or alternatively faster scan times can be achieved with higher field MRI. The currently dominant human MRI scanners operate at a magnetic field of 1.5 tesla, corresponding to the RF frequency of 64 MHz. Coil design for 64 MHz is relatively well understood, though far from straightforward. However, the current frontier in human MRI is 7 tesla, which requires RF coils to operate at 300 MHz. Volume coil design at this frequency is much more difficult because the wavelength in tissues is now comparable to the dimensions of the anatomy being imaged, and smaller than the coil itself.

Collaboration with Other Departments

Leveraging our RF and electromagnetic field modeling expertise, the RF Lab collaborates with the Metal Processing Institute (MPI) at WPI. We are actively involved in the Center for Imaging and Sensing (part of MPI), whose mission is to conduct research on new non-destructive testing/evaluation methods and instrumentation for industry.

Industrial non-destructive testing is a very diverse field, encompassing such technologies such as X-ray imaging, ultrasound, eddy-current testing, and many, many others.

Contact

Reinhold Ludwig - director of the RF Lab

AK014 - RF Lab floor

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Last modified: Jul 17, 2009