Intravascular extended sensitivity (IVES) MRI antennas
The design and application of an intravascular extended sensitivity (IVES) MRI antenna is described. The device is a loopless antenna design that incorporates both an insulating, dielectric coating and a winding of the antenna whip into a helical shape. Because this antenna produces a broad region of high SNR and also allows for imaging near the tip of the device, it is useful for imaging long, luminal structures. To elucidate the design and function of this device, the effects of both insulation and antenna winding were characterized by theoretical and experimental studies. Insulation broadens the longitudinal region over which images can be collected (i.e., along the lumen of a vessel) by increasing the resonant pole length. Antenna winding, conversely, allows for imaging closer to the tip of the antenna by decreasing the resonant pole length. Over a longitudinal region of 20 cm, the IVES imaging antenna described here produces a system SNR of approximately 40,000/r (mL-1Hz1/2), where r is the radial distance from the antenna axis in centimeters. As opposed to microcoil antenna designs, these antennas do not require exact positioning and allow for imaging over broad tissue regions. While focusing on the design of the IVES antenna, this work also serves to enhance our overall understanding of the properties and behavior of the loopless antenna design. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.