Electromagnetic computation and modeling in MRI

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Abstract

Electromagnetic (EM) computational modeling is used extensively during the development of a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner, its installation, and use. MRI, which relies on interactions between nuclear magnetic moments and the applied magnetic fields, uses a range of EM tools to optimize all of the magnetic fields required to produce the image. The main field magnet is designed to exacting specifications but challenges in manufacturing, installation, and use require additional tools to maintain target operational performance. The gradient magnetic fields, which provide the primary signal localization mechanism, are designed under another set of complex design trade-offs which include conflicting imaging performance specifications and patient physiology. Gradients are largely impervious to external influences, but are also used to enhance main field operational performance. The radiofrequency (RF) magnetic fields, which are used to elicit the signals fundamental to the MR image, are a challenge to optimize for a host of reasons that include patient safety, image quality, cost optimization, and secondary signal localization capabilities. This review outlines these issues and the EM modeling used to optimize MRI system performance.

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