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Eigenmode Analysis for Understanding Phased Array Coils and Their Limits

S. B. King1, G. R. Duensing2
Institute for Biodiagnostics, National Research Council of Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 2MRI Devices Corporation, Gainesville, Florida, United States Synopsis A resistance matrix eigenvector/value decomposition is performed on an RF coil array to enable visualization of regional variation of SNR changes caused by the introduction of non-sample losses. It is found that for a particular array, introduction of a non-sample loss that reduces individual coil SNR by 14% results in SNR losses ranging from 6% to 28%. This method provides a simplified means for estimating the effect of regional SNR changes due to various loss mechanisms. Introduction In MRI it is well known that, in order to achieve maximum SNR from a given channel, the coil conductor and component losses should be kept to minimum. The goal is for the resistance attributable to the sample should be much larger than the resistance associated with other losses. This goal may be difficult to obtain for small coils, lower frequencies and coils with some form of self-cancellation. Because the number of channels available on MR systems continues to increase, it is important to understand how such losses manifest in composite images from arrays of small surface coils. The nave assumption would be that if every channel in an array dropped its SNR by a percentage P, due to excess loss, that the SNR in the composite image would drop everywhere by the same percentage P. This is not the case. Theory/Methods It has been known that the standard Sum-of-Squares (SoS) reconstruction ( S = s s ) can be optimized for higher SNR by employing the resistance correlation matrix
SoS

in the reconstruction[1,2] such that, S = sR 1s , where s is the conjugate transpose of the signals s opt

decomposition of the Hermitian shared resistance matrix, R = KK, the optimal combination can be expressed as S = sK 1 K 1s . We can then define s = K 1 s as opt

our new signal vector such that the resistance correlation matrix, R , in this optimal basis is diagonal, whose elements are the eigenvalues of R, and are precisely equivalent to the resistance of the eigenmodes. Analysis of the eigenvalues of R for different amounts of non-sample resistance provides visualization of why regional variation of SNR changes occurs. For the ideal matched coil case, the diagonal elements of R are all equal. In the eigenmode basis, there is a divergence of values. Generally the greater the spread of values, the more the correlation of the original basis.
The sample was modeled as a cylinder 20cm diameter and 25 cm long(z). Each of the 8-saddle elements were 25 cm long with a 45 arc, placed around a 24 cm diameter cylinder. The B1-field was simulated in the x-y plane from a standard Biot-Savart calculation. The resistance matrix for the array was calculated as where is the conductivity of a homogenous sample, Ei and Ej are the electric fields R ij = E i E j dV
Sample

induced in the sample by coils i and j respectively. To simulate varying amounts of non-sample resistance, the diagonal terms of the resistance matrix Rii were mutiplied by a factor (1+ Rc), where Rc represents the fractional increase in resistance due to non-sample losses such as conductor noise, NF of preamps etc. Results As expected, adding non-sample resistance decreased SNR of single elements by 1/(1+Rc) equally over the sample (Fig.1).

Fig. 1 Single loop SNR for Rc = 0(left) and 0.3(right)

Opt Rc=0 SoS Rc=0.3 Opt Rc=0.3 Fig. 2 SoS and Optimal composite SNR for Rc = 0 and 0.3 Figure 2 shows that for SoS or optimal array reconstructions , more SNR loss occurs in the peripheral relative to the center. This would not seem intuitive without
1

SoS Rc=0

analyzing SNR in the optimal or eigenmode basis ( s = K s ). The amount of regional variation depends upon the geometry of the coil and sample. The variation is a direct result of noise correlation, so that generally the higher the correlation the more variation is possible. Also, because the optimal reconstruction maximizes the SNR in the presence of correlation, more variation is seen in optimal reconstruction than in sum-of-squares reconstruction. The non-degenerate modes are in Figure 3.
Rc E-mode 1 2 3 4 5 0 0.44 0.13 0.17 1.00 0.20 0.3 0.57 0.27 0.31 1.13 0.33 0.6 0.71 0.40 0.44 1.27 0.47 1.0 0.89 0.58 0.62 1.45 0.65

Eigenvalues of the resistance matrix for corresponding eigenmodes of Fig. 3, scaled to uniform mode eigenvalue It can be seen that the changes in eigenvalues can be easily related to the SNR changes shown in Figure 4 and thus provide a simplified method of estimating SNR. Conclusions The regional SNR variation caused by additional amounts of non-sample loss has been demonstrated using eigenmode analysis. A 14% drop in individual SNR resulted in SNR drops ranging from about 6% to 28%. In our example, the SNR at the center of the sample had the least change while the periphery had the greatest change. This study provides a means of analyzing the effect of using more, smaller coils around a sample. These results also demonstrate the additional peripheral SNR benefits of using optimal reconstruction. References [1] Roemer, P.B., et al., Magn Reson Med 16:192-225, 1990; [2] Varosi, S.M., et al. ISMRM Proc. p. 768, 2002

Fig. 3 Relative optimal mode SNR for Rc=0.3

Proc. Intl. Soc. Mag. Reson. Med. 11 (2003)

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= ( s1

sn ) .

It follows that with eigenvalue/vector