MPI Hardware and Instrumentation

At the Institute of Biomedical Imaging, a wide variety of instrumentation projects are carried out in the field of MPI research. Among others, various MPI subfields are investigated, such as the generation of efficient static magnetic fields, as well as the excitation of magnetic nanoparticles with arbitrary signals and their reception and hardware processing. In addition, a human-sized head scanner is operated and further developed, which is intended for long-term monitoring of patients with strokes.

Low-Power Iron Magnetic Field Generator

A major issue for human-sized magnetic particle imaging scanners is the generation of magnetic fields with sufficiently large magnetic field gradients. By exploiting the field enhancement properties of soft iron, a significant amount of power can be saved. Many different concepts for selection field generators have been introduced for Magnetic Particle Imaging. In this project, an optimized iron core selection field generator consisting of two coil arrays with a total of 18 coils was built ("Low-Power Iron Selection and Focus Field Generator"). Due to the high number of degrees of freedom, a wide variety of field configurations are possible with significantly less demands on infrastructure and cooling design. The setup allows the generation of arbitrarily shaped fields, including standard magnetic particle imaging fields such as field-free points and field-free lines ("Flexible Selection Field Generation using Iron Core Coil Arrays"). Due to the non-linear magnetization properties of the coil cores, the simulation of such generators is particular challenging. In practice, very specific fields must be set using the coil currents as degrees of freedom. Finding the correct currents for the given field constellation is a nonlinear inverse problem. This field generator serves the purpose of investigating the inverse problem within the context of MPI, magnetic manipulation of microdevices, and targeted drug delivery.


Magnetic field measurement in our Low-Power Iron Magnetic Field Generator.

(Arbitrary) Magnetic Particle Spectroscopy

State-of-the-art systems utilize a sinusoidal excitation to drive superparamagnetic nanoparticles into the non-linear part of their magnetization curve, which creates a spectrum with a clear separation of direct feed-through and higher harmonics caused by the particles response. One challenge for arbitrary waveform excitation is the discrimination of particle and excitation signals, both broad-band. Another is the drive-field sequence itself, as particles that are not placed at the same spatial position, may react simultaneously and are not separable by their signal phase or shape. To overcome this potential loss of information in spatial encoding for high amplitudes, a superposition of shifting fields and drive-field rotations is proposed in "System Matrix Based Reconstruction for Pulsed Sequences in Magnetic Particle Imaging". Generating arbitrary excitation fields poses a new challenge in MPI hardware design. In the study "Model-based voltage predictions for arbitrary waveform excitation in Magnetic Particle Imaging", a method which models the excitation chain as a linear system and predicts the required input voltage for the desired output field. The initial prediction is then iteratively improved to compensate for inaccuracies of the model.

In order to calibrate the receive path, the recorded voltage is transferred to the device-indepedent domain of the magnetic moment. This enables the comparison of MPI signals from different devices and can be used to normalize measurements and system functions in devices with exchangeable receive coils. To achieve high accuracy, the transfer function is measured using a calibration procedure with a network analyzer and a well known calibration coil. A general description of the underlying calibration model and methodology is provided in "On the Receive Path Calibration of Magnetic Particle Imaging Systems", including a general multi-channel calibration procedure for inductive receive paths in MPI and a blueprint to investigate model and method uncertainties. We generalized the calibration procedure to also cover non-orthogonal and non-homogeneous receive coils, as well as present an uncertainty analysis on our custom MPS system and use the MPI transfer functions of misaligned receive coils.


Cross sectional view of our pulsed MPS with the measurement chamber (top) and the gradiometer for feedthrough compensation (bottom).

Project Publications

Title: A Novel Approach to FFL Trajectory Analysis.
Written by: F. Niebel, J. Schumacher, F. Mohn, M. Ahlborg, T.M. Buzug, and M. Graeser
in: <em>International Journal on Magnetic Particle Imaging IJMPI</em>. mar (2023).
Volume: Number:
on pages: 9.(1),
how published:
DOI: 10.18416/IJMPI.2023.2303074


Note: inproceedings, instrumentation

Abstract: The sampling trajectory is an important parameter of a magnetic particle imaging (MPI) system and should be selected in order to guarantee the best image quality constrained by hardware limitations. A simulation study is performed with the side conditions of a permanent magnet-based field-free line (FFL) scanner system evaluating multiple trajectory types (radial, spiral, uniformspiral, flower) and trajectory densities in terms of spatial resolution. The findings provide information on suitable FFL trajectories and indicate initial trends for advantageous sampling patterns in the reference system. Within the used software framework, which has the potential to generate sequences based on real measurement data, we present here a novel approach to FFL trajectory analysis.