Network and Field Analysis of Koch Snowflake Fractal Geometry Radiofrequency Coils for Sodium MRI Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Sodium is one of the most abundant physiological cations and is a key element in many cellular processes. It has been shown that several pathologies, including degenerative brain disorders, cancers, and brain traumas, express sodium deviations from normal. Therefore, sodium magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can prove to be valuable for physicians. However, sodium MRI has its limitations, the most significant being a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) thousands of times lower than a typical proton MRI. Radiofrequency coils are the components of the MRI system directly responsible for signal generation and acquisition. This paper explores the intrinsic properties of a Koch snowflake fractal radiofrequency surface coil compared to that of a standard circular surface coil to investigate a fractal geometry’s role in increasing SNR of sodium MRI scans. By first analyzing the network parameters of the two coils, it was found that the fractal coil had a better impedance match than the circular coil when loaded by various anatomical regions. Although this maximizes signal transfer between the coil and the system, this is at the expense of a lower Q, indicating greater signal loss between the tissue and coil. A second version of each coil was constructed to test the mutual inductance between the coils of the same geometry to see how they would behave as a phased array. It was found that the fractal coils were less sensitive to each other than the two circular coils, which would be beneficial when constructing and using phased array systems. The performance of each coil was then assessed for B1+ field homogeneity and signal. A sodium phantom was imaged using a B1+ mapping sequence, and a 3D radial acquisition was performed to determine SNR and image quality. The results indicated that the circular coil had a more homogeneous field and higher SNR. Overall while the circular coil proved to generate a higher signal-to-noise ratio than the fractal, the Koch coil showed higher versatility when in a multichannel network which could prove to be a benefit when designing, constructing, and using a phased array coil.

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publication date

  • August 3, 2021