Gradient-induced longitudinal relaxation of hyperpolarized noble gases in the fringe fields of superconducting magnets used for magnetic resonance.
When hyperpolarized noble gases are brought into the bore of a superconducting magnet for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or spectroscopy studies, the gases must pass through substantial field gradients, which can cause rapid longitudinal relaxation. In this communication, we present a means of calculating this spatially dependent relaxation rate in the fringe field of typical magnets. We then compare these predictions to experimental measurements of (3)He relaxation at various positions near a medium-bore 2-T small animal MRI system. The calculated and measured relaxation rates on the central axis of the magnet agree well and show a maximum (3)He relaxation rate of 3.83×10(-3) s(-1) (T(1)=4.4 min) at a distance of 47 cm from the magnet isocenter. We also show that if this magnet were self-shielded, its minimum T(1) would drop to 1.2 min. In contrast, a typical self-shielded 1.5-T clinical MRI scanner will induce a minimum on-axis T(1) of 12 min. Additionally, we show that the cylindrically symmetric fields of these magnets enable gradient-induced relaxation to be calculated using only knowledge of the on-axis longitudinal field, which can either be measured directly or calculated from a simple field model. Thus, while most MRI magnets employ complex and proprietary current configurations, we show that their fringe fields and the resulting gradient-induced relaxation are well approximated by simple solenoid models. Finally, our modeling also demonstrates that relaxation rates can increase by nearly an order of magnitude at radial distances equivalent to the solenoid radius.
Zheng, W; Cleveland, ZI; Möller, HE; Driehuys, B
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