NMR probes for measuring magnetic fields and field dynamics in MR systems

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High-resolution magnetic field probes based on pulsed liquid-state NMR are presented. Static field measurements with an error of 10 nanotesla or less at 3 tesla are readily obtained in 100 ms. The further ability to measure dynamic magnetic fields results from using small (˜1 μL) droplets of MR-active liquid surrounded by susceptibility-matched materials. The consequent high field homogeneity allows free induction decay signals lasting 100 ms or more to be readily achieved. The small droplet dimensions allow the magnetic field to be measured even in the presence of large gradients. Highly sensitive detection yields sufficient SNR to follow the relevant field evolution without signal averaging and at bandwidths up to hundreds of kHz. Transient, nonreproducible effects and drifts are thus readily monitored. The typical application ofk-space trajectory mapping has been demonstrated. Potential further applications include characterization, tuning, and maintenance of gradient systems as well as the mapping of the static field distribution of MRI magnets. Connection of the probes to a standard MR spectrometer is similar to that used for imaging coils. Magn Reson Med 60:176–186, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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