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Variable Power Combiner for RF Mode Shimming in 7-T MR Imaging

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3 Author(s)
Yazdanbakhsh, P. ; University Duisburg-Essen, Germany ; Solbach, K. ; Bitz, A.K.

This contribution discusses the utilization of RF power in an MRI system with RF mode shimming which enables the superposition of circularly polarized modes of a transmit RF coil array driven by a Butler matrix. Since the required power for the individual modes can vary widely, mode-shimming can result in a significant underutilization of the total available RF power. A variable power combiner (VPC) is proposed to improve the power utilization: it can be realized as a reconfiguration of the MRI transmit system by the inclusion of one additional matrix network which receives the power from all transmit amplifiers at its input ports and provides any desired (combined) power distribution at its output ports by controlling the phase and amplitude of the amplifiers’ input signals. The power distribution at the output ports of the VPC is then fed into the “mode” ports of the coil array Butler matrix in order to superimpose the spatial modes at the highest achievable power utilization. The VPC configuration is compared to the standard configuration of the transmit chain of our MRI system with 8 transmit channels and 16 coils. In realistic scenarios, improved power utilization was achieved from 17% to 60% and from 14% to 55% for an elliptical phantom and a region of interest in the abdomen, respectively, and an increase of the power utilization of 1 dB for a region of interest in the upper leg. In general, it is found that the VPC allows significant improvement in power utilization when the shimming solution demands only a few modes to be energized, while the technique can yield loss in power utilization in cases with many modes required at high power level.

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Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:59 ,  Issue: 9 )