Tunable Ultrahigh Dielectric Constant (tuHDC) Ceramic Technique to Largely Improve RF Coil Efficiency and MR Imaging Performance

Wei Chen, Byeong Y Lee, Xiao Hong Zhu, Hannes M. Wiesner, Maryam Sarkarat, Navid P. Gandji, Sebastian Rupprecht, Qing X. Yang, Michael T. Lanagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work introduces an innovative magnetic resonance (MR) imaging technology that incorporates radiofrequency (RF) coil(s) with permittivity-tunable ultrahigh dielectric constant (tuHDC) ceramics to significantly improve RF coil transmission and reception efficiencies, MR imaging sensitivity and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). The tuHDC ceramics made of composite barium strontium titanate (BST) compounds (Ba0.6 Sr0.4 TiO3) have lowdielectric loss and very high permittivity tunability from 2,000 to 15000 by varying the ceramic temperature between 0 C and 40 C to achieve an optimal permittivity for MR imaging application. We demonstrated for the first time the proof of concept using the BST-based tuHDC-RF-coil technology to improve MR spectroscopic imaging performance of 17O nuclide at 10.5 Tesla (T) at a low ceramic temperature and 23Na nuclide at 7T at room temperature. We discovered a large and spatially independent noise reduction under an optimal ceramic temperature, which synergistically resulted in an unprecedentedSNR improvement. Large improvements were also demonstrated for 1H MRI on a 1.5T clinical scanner using the same ceramics. The tuHDCRF-coil technology is robust, flexible and cost-effective; it presents a technical breakthrough to significantly improve imaging sensitivity and resolution for broad MR imaging applications;which is critical for advancing biomedical and neuroscience research, and improving diagnostic imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9072303
Pages (from-to)3187-3197
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received February 18, 2020; revised April 6, 2020; accepted April 13, 2020. Date of publication April 20, 2020; date of current version September 30, 2020. This work was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under Grant U01 EB026978, Grant R24 MH106049, Grant R01 CA240953, Grant R01 MH111413, Grant S10 RR029672, and Grant P41 EB027061. (Corresponding author: Wei Chen.) Wei Chen, Byeong-Yeul Lee, Xiao-Hong Zhu, and Hannes M. Wiesner are with the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR), Department of Radiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA (e-mail: chenx075@umn.edu; catchjoy73@gmail.com; zhu@cmrr.umn.edu; hannes@umn.edu).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 IEEE.


  • Imaging denoising
  • Imaging sensitivity
  • Magnetic resonance (mr) imaging (mri)
  • Mr spectroscopy imaging (mrsi)
  • Ultrahigh field (uhf)
  • Ultrahigh permittivity tunable ceramics


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