A probe for specimen magnetic resonance microscopy.
One of the primary limits to spatial resolution in magnetic resonance (MR) microscopy is the limited signal. The purpose of this study is to build a radiofrequency (rf) probe for MR microscopy of fixed specimens at 300 MHz. The design criteria for the probe were (1) high sensitivity; (2) good rf homogeneity; (3) minimization of BO variations. All probes were Helmholtz pairs operating at 300 MHz. Coils were constructed from copper/Teflon/copper microwave substrate which eliminated susceptibility problems from solder and discrete capacitors. Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) was compared with a conventional solenoid. Phantoms of agar gels and saline-filled tubes were used to characterize the SNR and homogeneity. SNR measurements of the coil pairs showed a marked improvement (up to 60%) over that of the reference solenoid. The region of homogeneity was defined as a 10% variation in signal intensity. This correlated with the coil's inner diameter. Graphs of SNR versus diameter, separation, and copper foil width allowed for optimization of the structure. Using this coil, MR microscopy is now possible on small, fixed specimens with pixels as small as 20 x 20 x 30 microns. Work is currently under way exploiting the SNR and homogeneity provided by this probe to determine the degree to which MR microscopy might add to the pathologists' diagnostic tools.
Banson, ML; Cofer, GP; Black, R; Johnson, GA
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