Magnetic resonance imaging has become an indispensable tool for medical diagnostics. Using metamaterials – printed circuit boards whose properties can be systematically adjusted – can increase measurement sensitivity by a factor of five. Metamaterials can also make scans faster and quieter. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institutes for Digital Medicine MEVIS and for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques FHR are working together to make examinations more pleasant for patients.
Magnetic resonance imaging – MRI for short – lets doctors image and examine the brain, spinal cord, internal organs, muscles and joints layer by layer. This technology exploits the fact that certain nuclei in the body can be very slightly magnetized. It can even depict organ movements, such as the beating of the heart. But as impressive and revealing as this imaging may be, for patients, the procedure is often unpleasant – after all, it is loud in the bore.
Up to five times better measurement sensitivity
Getting an MRI could soon become more pleasant for patients. Teams of researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes MEVIS and FHR working on a Fraunhofer project succeeded in boosting the sensitivity of MRI machines under certain circumstances many times over. “If the MRI works with high-frequency coils that are placed on the patient’s body, depending on the question, we can improve the dynamics by up to 20 percent,” says Dr. Thomas Bertuch, the team leader at Fraunhofer FHR. “If the coils installed in the MRI machine are used, the measured signal can even be increased fivefold.” For doctors, this means that the structures on the MRI images can be discerned in far greater detail.
Source: “MRI images: more efficient, quieter and faster”, Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques