Purpose: To present a 3T brain imaging study using a conformal prototype helmet constructed with an ultra-high dielectric constant (uHDC; εr ~ 1000) materials that can be inserted into standard receive head-coils. Methods: A helmet conformal to a standard human head constructed with uHDC materials was characterized through electromagnetic simulations and experimental work. The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), transmit efficiency, and power deposition with the uHDC helmet inserted within a 20-channel head coil were measured in vivo and compared with a 64-channel head coil and the 20-channel coil without the helmet. Seven healthy volunteers were analyzed. Results: Simulation and in vivo experimental results showed that transmit efficiency was improved by nearly 3 times within localized regions for a quadrature excitation, with a measured global increase of 58.21 ± 6.54% over 7 volunteers. The use of a parallel transmit spokes pulse compensated for severe degradation of B+ 1 homogeneity, at the expense of higher global and local specific absorption rate levels. A SNR histogram analysis with statistical testing demonstrated that the uHDC helmet enhanced a 20-channel head coil to the level of the 64-channel head coil, with the improvements mainly within the cortical brain regions. Conclusion: A prototype uHDC helmet enhanced the SNR of a standard head coil to the level of a high density 64-channel coil, although transmit homogeneity was compromised. Further improvements in SNR may be achievable with optimization of this technology, and could be a low-cost approach for future radiofrequency engineering work in the brain at 3T.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging