Physicists from Russia created the «wireless» version of the key parts of the MRI

© Konstantin Ermolaeva MRIPhysicists from Russia created the «wireless» version of the key parts of the MRI© Konstantin Ermolaev

Scientists from Russia and the Netherlands have created a technology that allows to transmit information from MRI without using wires, which will enhance the quality of images and make them more convenient to use, according to a paper published in the journal Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

«The clinical trials we have conducted with healthy volunteers. Scanned Carpus new wireless coil and compared with that obtained by a normal scan, plug-in cable. It turned out that it can be even more effective than traditional wired. Such replacement allows to obtain a better image and easier to use, because it is not necessary to connect», – says Stanislav for him, a physicist from University ITMO in Saint-Petersburg.

Magnetic resonance imaging is based on the effect of the so-called nuclear magnetic resonance. During a session of imaging the brain or other human organs are exposed to the radio waves in the presence of a powerful permanent magnet, causing the nuclei of hydrogen and other atoms in the body tissues start vibrating, radiating or absorbing radio waves of a certain frequency.

Watching these waves, scientists can calculate the position of that atom in tissue temperature or other properties of the organ under investigation, including how microwave radiation affects cells. To work MRI uses powerful magnets on the basis of superconductors, which limits the scope of application of this equipment makes its operation rather expensive.

Scientists from St. Petersburg and their Dutch colleagues for several years trying to improve the performance of such devices, creating a special «quilts» made from pieces of metals that enhance image contrast and improve the product quality and trying to improve other components of the scanner.

Another key part of the MRI, in addition to the superconducting magnets, is the set of the receiving and transmitting coils. Some of them produces the beams of radio waves that cause hydrogen atoms to vibrate, and the other to capture the fluctuations that occur during these vibrations.

The receiving coils, as explained for him and his colleagues, are usually located a short distance from the patient and operators often attach the scanner directly to the human body to produce the sharpest images. In such cases doctors have to use special cables to connect these rings to the machine and read the signal, making it difficult to MRI and can degrade the signal.

«Wireless» radio transmission, as the scientists explain, is due to the fact that the first coil is assembled from a special metamaterial, does not respond to a constant magnetic field produced by the MRI scanner. This reduces the transmitter power to 50 times and avoid loss of signal. As shown by the experiments conducted on volunteers and the plaster casts of the limbs, conducted in the Netherlands, such a technique really works and it not only does not worsen, but even improves the picture quality.

As notes a press-service of the ITMO University, while the scientists did the coil only for the wrist, but in the future they plan to develop versions for other parts of the body, including the mammary glands or areas where a lot of small joints, cartilage and tendons. Their creation, as I hope physics will allow to significantly improve image quality and make MRI diagnostics much more reliable.