A desktop magnetic resonance imaging system

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Abstract

Modern magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems consist of several complex, high cost subsystems. The cost and complexity of these systems often makes them impractical for use as routine laboratory instruments, limiting their use to hospitals and dedicated laboratories. However, advances in the consumer electronics industry have led to the widespread availability of inexpensive radio-frequency integrated circuits with exceptional abilities. We have developed a small, low-cost MR system derived from these new components. When combined with inexpensive desktop magnets, this type of MR scanner has the promise of becoming standard laboratory equipment for both research and education. This paper describes the development of a prototype desktop MR scanner utilizing a 0.21 T permanent magnet with an imaging region of approximately 2 cm diameter. The system uses commercially available components where possible and is programmed in LabVIEW software. Results from 3D data sets of resolution phantoms and fixed, newborn mice demonstrate the capability of this system to obtain useful images from a system constructed for approximately $13 500.