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Pioneering Technology Leads to First 3-Tesla, Cryogen-Free MRI Benchtop Scanner

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 06 Mar 2013
Image: The new benchtop 3T MRI scanner (left) located near other laboratory equipment (Photo courtesy of MR Solutions).
Image: The new benchtop 3T MRI scanner (left) located near other laboratory equipment (Photo courtesy of MR Solutions).
Applying technological advances related to supercooling has enabled the development of a superior and more convenient 3-Tesla MRI scanner for biological and medical research laboratories.

The new “3T MRI” benchtop scanner, developed by MR Solutions (Guildford, UK), provides superior soft tissue contrast and molecular imaging capability as well as a breakthrough design that enables it to be conveniently fitted into an existing laboratory.

The scanner includes two major advances. First, the usual MRI liquid helium cooling system has been replaced by using a revolutionary magnet design incorporating new superconducting wire. Through a technology solution pioneered by MR Solutions and its magnet partner, this enables the use of a standard low-temperature cryocooler to cool the magnet to the 4 Kelvin required to achieve superconductivity. Second, the 3T MRI scanner does not require that it be isolated in a “Faraday cage” as its stray magnetic field is only a few centimetres and will not interfere with other equipment in a laboratory. The elimination of the helium cooling system has allowed an optimal installation of an additional solenoid to counter the stray magnetic field. These advances have also dramatically reduced the cost of this powerful scanner to make it highly competitive.

Professor Van der Linden from Bio Imaging Laboratory of the University of Antwerp commented, “This new scanner is a breakthrough and will provide us with the extra scanning power we need within our existing facilities. We can just wheel it in without knocking down any walls and without having to install a costly helium system and the safety system that goes with it. And as its stray magnetic field is so small, we can put other sensitive laboratory equipment and scanners close by for much better work flow.”

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