Hybrid numerical techniques for the modelling of radiofrequency coils in MRI



Radiofrequency (RF) coils for use in MRI can have a significant effect on both the signal-to-noise-ratio of MR images and the specific absorption rate inside the biological sample. In the past, prototypes were constructed and tested to investigate the performance of the RF coils and often required several iterations to achieve an acceptable result. However, with the advancement in computational electromagnetic techniques, RF coil modelling has now become the modus operandi of coil design because it can produce accurate numerical results, thus reducing the time and effort spent in designing and prototyping RF coils. Two hybrid methods –method of moments (MoM)/finite difference time domain (FDTD) and MoM/finite element method (FEM) – for RF coil modelling are presented herein. The paper provides a brief overview of FDTD, FEM and MoM. It discusses the hybridisation of these methods and how they are integrated to form versatile techniques. The numerical results obtained from these hybrid methods are compared with experimental results from prototype coils over a range of operating frequencies. The methods are then applied to the design of a new type of phased-array coil – the rotary phased array. From these comparisons, it can be seen that the numerical methods provide a useful aid for the design and optimisation of RF coils for use in MRI. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.