MRI Machines Are Getting A Big Power Boost

For many patients an MRI scan can be a daunting experience: the machines are both enormous and noisy, and the scan can sometimes take over an hour. This is why reducing the time it takes for an MRI scan can make a huge difference to the lives of both radiologists and patients. Research at Boston University has allowed scientists to 3D-print small helical resonators which can do just that. They stand at only three centimetres and can boost MRI performance by over three times. What’s more, they are cheap and easy to apply, easily fitting over any area of the body being scanned. 

We measure the power of MRI in Teslas, the measurement for magnetic field strength. This technology can increase MRI from 1.5 T to 7.0 T. This essentially ‘turns up the volume on the MRI, cutting the time it takes for a scan in half, which would allow radiologists to see more patients every day, and reduce the stress and anxiety from patients who require MRI.

The magnetic metamaterial is powered by helical resonators. Their flexibility allows them to fit over any body part to radically improve the scan power. This isn’t a complicated or expensive method of gaining extra MRI power: it’s a simple process that can progress medical imaging without taking a lot of time and resources. In tests this material was 4.2x more powerful than the control MRI scans: a massive improvement! The materials are so small they would even allow for more range with our use of MRI, such as allowing them to be available in live combat situations, or at the scene of an accident. 

Technology like this demonstrates that the Medical Imaging industry is changing all the time. The Medical Imaging Convention will host some of the leading researchers and companies in the industry: it’s the place to be if you want to stay up-to-date in this increasingly dynamic industry. 

The show will have over 200 exhibitors showcasing the latest industry innovations and tech: the 2020 show is our largest yet and promises to be an incredible, must-visit event for anyone whose work involves medical imaging. Hosted at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham on the 17th and 18th March 2020, ensure you visit mediweek.co.uk to register for your free tickets.

Resources: https://www.bu.edu/research/articles/magnetic-metamaterial-mri/