Technical innovations in gradient array systems for MRI applications
In Magnetic Resonance Imaging, gradient array coils have lately been employed in a variety of applications, such as field profiling. This capability of array technology can be used to minimize electric fields induced by gradient waveforms. For this purpose, a whole-body gradient array with all three gradients is being investigated. Gradient current amplitudes are optimized to produce a target magnetic field within a desired region of linearity (ROL) while minimizing induced electric fields. By reducing the diameter of ROL, generating a target gradient within a slice, and relaxing the linearity error, array coil electric fields are significantly reduced compared to a conventional coil. When a linear gradient is required in a small region, higher gradient strengths and slew rates can be achieved without exceeding peripheral nerve stimulation thresholds. Because of a high number of channels in the array design, feedback controllers significantly raise the system cost due to the expensive current sensors used for gradient current measurements. Thus, a nonlinear second-order feed-forward controller is introduced for the gradient array chain. The feed-forward controller is then modified to update the controller coefficients based on thermal behavior prediction to deal with time-varying parameters caused by temperature-dependent resistances. Gradient current measurements and MRI experiments are conducted to show the effectiveness of the proposed method. In the scope of this thesis, novel applications and hardware solutions are proposed to make array technology valuable and feasible.