News | February 19, 2009

Researchers Propagate Electromagnetic Waves of MRI

February 19, 2009 - Researchers conduct nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the human body by propagating electromagnetic waves, according to an article in the journal Nature.

David Brunner of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University of Zurich used propagating waves for MRI after a colleague took images of a hand and captured fold-over artifacts that originated from outside the detector’s field. Brunner said that meant signals were recorded not only from the target region but also from a considerable distance, although the detector was supposed to be sensitive only to its immediate surroundings. That, he said, is only possible if the signals travel, that is, if they propagate as waves.

"The fact that MRI signals can be received with an antenna and across such large distances is remarkable; it's a paradigm shift," said Professor Klaas Prussmann, who led the project.

Although the cost of strong magnets is considerable and clinical benefits of very high-field MR still needs to be demonstrated through more research, the technology holds promise not only for medical imaging but also other applications, such as examining large numbers of material samples or small animals in parallel for high-throughput screening.

For more information: www.nature.com/nature

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