Purpose: To demonstrate that strategic use of materials with high electric permittivity along with integrated head-sized coil arrays can improve SNR in the entire brain. Methods: Numerical simulations were used to design a high-permittivity material (HPM) helmet for enhancing SNR throughout the brain in receive arrays of 8 and 28 channels. Then, two 30-channel head coils of identical geometry were constructed: one fitted with a prototype helmet-shaped ceramic HPM helmet, and the second with a helmet-shaped low-permittivity shell, each 8-mm thick. An eight-channel dipole array was used for excitation. In vivo maps of excitation flip angle and SNR were acquired. Results: Simulation results showed improvement in transmit efficiency by up to 65% and in receive-side SNR by up to 47% on average through the head with use of an HPM helmet. Experimental results showed that experimental transmit efficiency was improved by approximately 56% at the center of brain, and experimental receive-side SNR (SNR normalized to flip angle) was improved by approximately 21% on average through orthogonal planes through the cerebrum, including at the center of the brain, with the HPM. Conclusion: Although HPM is used increasingly to improve transmit efficiency locally in situations in which the transmit coil and imaging volume are much larger than the HPM, here we demonstrate that HPM can also be used to improve transmit efficiency and receive-side SNR throughout the brain by improving performance of a head-sized receive array. This includes the center of the brain, where it is difficult to improve SNR by other means.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging