A self-matched leaky-wave antenna for ultrahigh-field magnetic resonance imaging with low specific absorption rate

G Solomakha, J T Svejda, C van Leeuwen, A Rennings, A J Raaijmakers, S Glybovski, D Erni

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Abstract

The technology of magnetic resonance imaging is developing towards higher magnetic fields to improve resolution and contrast. However, whole-body imaging at 7 T or even higher flux densities remains challenging due to wave interference, tissue inhomogeneities, and high RF power deposition. Nowadays, proper RF excitation of a human body in prostate and cardiac MRI is only possible to achieve by using phased arrays of antennas attached to the body (so-called surface coils). Due to safety concerns, the design of such coils aims at minimization of the local specific absorption rate (SAR), keeping the highest possible RF signal in the region of interest. Most previously demonstrated approaches were based on resonant structures such as e.g. dipoles, capacitively-loaded loops, TEM-line sections. In this study, we show that there is a better compromise between the transmit signal B1+ and the local SAR using non-resonant surface coils generating a low electric field in the proximity of their conductors. With this aim, we propose and experimentally demonstrate a leaky-wave antenna implemented as a periodically-slotted microstrip transmission line. Due to its non-resonant radiation, it induces only slightly over half the peak local SAR compared to a state-of-the-art dipole antenna but has the same transmit efficiency in prostate imaging at 7 T. Unlike other antennas for MRI, the leaky-wave antenna does not require to be tuned and matched when placed on a body, which makes it easy-to-use in prostate imaging at 7 T MRI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number455
JournalNature Communications
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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