Superconducting RF coils for clinical MR imaging at low field

Q. Y. Ma, K. C. Chan, Daniel F. Kacher, Erzhen Gao, Mei Sim Chow, Kelvin K. Wong, Hui Xu, Edward S. Yang, Geoff S. Young, Jason R. Miller, Ferenc A. Jolesz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objectives. A number of recent reports in the MRI literature have established that substantial signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) gains can be achieved with small samples or low resonance frequencies, through the use of high-quality factor high-temperature superconducting (HTS) RF receive coils. We show the application of HTS coils to the imaging of human subjects with improved SNR compared with copper coils. Materials and Methods. HTS coils were constructed from 7.62-cm YBa2Cur3O7_δ thin films on LaAlO3 substrate and cooled in a liquid nitrogen cryostat. Human and phantom images were acquired on a 0.2-T scanner. The SNR improvements compared with equivalent-sized copper coils are reported. Results. SNR gains of 2.8-fold and 1.4-fold were observed in images of a phantom acquired with an HTS coil versus a room temperature copper coil and a liquid nitrogen-cooled copper coil, respectively. Preliminary results suggest higher image quality can be obtained in vivo with an HTS coil compared with copper coil imaging. Images of human orbit, brain, temporomandibular joint, and wrist are presented. Conclusion. The experimental results show that benefits can be expected from application of HTS surface coils in human MR imaging with low-field scanners. These potential benefits justify the continued development of practical HTS coil imaging systems despite the considerable technical difficulties involved in cryostat and coil design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)978-987
Number of pages10
JournalAcademic Radiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003


  • High resolution
  • High-temperature superconductors (HTS)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • RF surface coil
  • Signal-to-noise ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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