Applications of High Dielectric Materials in High Field Magnetic Resonance

Open Access
Haines, Kristina Noel
Graduate Program:
Electrical Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
June 24, 2010
Committee Members:
  • Dr Andrew Webb & Dr Jeff Schiano, Dissertation Advisor
  • Andrew G Webb, Committee Chair
  • Jeffrey Louis Schiano, Committee Chair
  • Michael T Lanagan, Committee Member
  • Douglas Henry Werner, Committee Member
  • Kenneth Jenkins, Committee Member
  • dielectric
  • MRI
  • high field
  • resonator
  • microimaging
At high magnetic fields, radiation losses, wavelength effects, self-resonance, and the high resistance of components all contribute to losses in conventional RF MRI coil designs. The hypothesis tested here is that these problems can be combated by the use of high permittivity ceramic materials at high fields. High permittivity ceramic dielectric resonators create strong uniform magnetic fields in compact structures at high frequencies and can potentially solve some of the challenges of high field coil design. In this study NMR probes were constructed for operation at 600 MHz (14.1 Tesla) and 900 MHz (21.1 Tesla) using inductively fed CaTiO3 (relative permittivity of 156-166) cylindrical hollow bore dielectric resonators. The designs showed the electric field is largely confined to the dielectric itself, with near zero values in the hollow bore, which accommodates the sample. The 600 MHz probe has an unmatched Q value greater than 2000. Experimental and simulation mapping of the RF field show good agreement, with the ceramic resonator giving a pulse width approximately 25% less than a loop gap resonator of similar inner dimensions. High resolution images, with voxel dimensions less than 50 μm3, have been acquired from fixed zebrafish samples, showing excellent delineation of several fine structures. The 900 MHz probe has an unmatched Q value of 940 and shows Q performance five times better than Alderman-Grant and loop-gap resonators of similar dimensions. High resolution images were acquired of an excised mouse spinal cord (25 µm3) and an excised rat soleus muscle (20 µm3). The spatial distribution of electromagnetic fields within the human body can be tailored using external dielectric materials. Here, a new material is introduced with high dielectric constant and low background MRI signal. The material is based upon metal titanates, which can be made into geometrically formable suspensions in de-ionized water. The suspension’s material properties are characterized from 100 to 400 MHz. Results obtained at 7 T show a significant increase in image intensity in areas such as the temporal lobe and base of the brain with the new material placed around the head, and improved performance compared to purely water-based gels.