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An analytical expression for the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of a slotted surface coil with an arbitrary number of slots was derived. This surface coil design is based on the magnetron tube. Theoretical signal-to-noise ratio results were compared to the signal-to-noise ratio of a single circular coil of similar dimensions. The slotted surface coil is able to produce a significant theoretical SNR improvement over the popular circular coil. To experimentally validate this coil design, a single channel slotted coil prototype with 8 vane-type slots was built and experimentally tested on 1.5 T magnetic resonance scanner using standard pulse sequences. Phantom images were acquired and used to compute the experimental signal-to-noise ratio. Signal-to-noise ratio theoretical predictions showed a very good agreement with the experimentally acquired signal-to-noise ratio data. This theoretical SNR model allows us to compute the coil performance in advance of experiments thus providing solid guidelines to specifically fabricate coils for particular applications. This theoretical approach should be useful in the development of this type of coil over a wide range of field strengths and applications.