MRI RF COILS AND OPTIMIZATION

Through novel hardware designs, we aim to improve on four key aspects of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): accuracy, quality, comfort, and speed. Higher accuracy and quality of images leads to more accurate and precise findings in both research and clinical settings. For instance, higher resolution images with minimized noise and heightened quality may mean earlier detection of illness, leading to higher life expectancy and quality of life; or more precise conclusions to research questions, fostering a better understanding of our brains, leading to more accurate therapeutic techniques. The comfort of a patient and the length of time spent in the scanner can greatly improve the happiness of the patient while also minimizing error introduced by movement or premature termination of scans. From a research perspective, subject happiness, again, lends to improved accuracy and quality of results, as well as higher temporal resolution of brain activity scans (functional scans).

We accomplish these goals by designing and testing radio-frequency coils, a type of specialized antenna. They offer improved accuracy and quality through better signal-to-noise ratio, higher patient comfort through more form fitting and flexible assemblies, and higher speed through large coil arrays.

Currently, our projects include combining transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a method to stimulate precise areas of the brain, with functional imaging of subjects performing a visual task to investigate the instantaneous effects of TMS and how these effects permeate across the brain. A large, flexible coil array, featuring 128-channels, is currently in development and will provide leading-edge image quality and accuracy, while improving patient comfort through a flexible, size-adjustable design.

We hope to provide insight, tools, and designs that will motivate others to contribute and grow the field of diagnostic imaging hardware and techniques.