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3T, cryogen-free MRI scanner now in bench top size


Helium-free, 3-tesla, bench-top MRI scanner provides superior soft tissue contrast and molecular imaging capability. In addition, it only takes the space of a desk and can be easily fitted within an existing laboratory.

The scanner incorporates two major advances. First, it does away with the usual liquid helium cooling system by using a new magnet design that incorporates new superconducting wire. This enables the use of a standard low temperature cryocooler (fridge) to cool the magnet to the required 4 degrees Kelvin (minus 269 degrees C) – needed to achieve superconductivity – through a technology solution pioneered by MR Solutions and its magnet partner.

Second, it does not have to be in a separate metal-lined room (a Faraday cage) as its stray magnetic field is only a few centimetres and will not interfere with the other equipment in a laboratory. The elimination of the helium cooling system has allowed the optimum installation of an additional solenoid which counters the stray magnetic field.

These technological advances have dramatically reduced the cost of this powerful scanner.

The universities ofAntwerp, Düsseldorf,Perth(Australia) and the hospital research centres at George-Francois Leclerc centre (France), Beaumont Hospitals (Michigan) are installing these powerful new scanners over the next year.

Professor Van der Linden Bio Imaging Laboratory of theUniversityofAntwerpcommented: “We have been working with MR Solutions for many years as they are the technological leaders in this field. This new scanner is a breakthrough and will provide us with the extra scanning power we need within our existing facilities.

“We can just wheel it in without knocking down any walls and without having to install a costly helium system and the safety system that goes with it,” he adds. “And as its stray magnetic field is so small we can put other sensitive laboratory equipment and scanners close by for much better work flow and don’t have to isolate it in a Faraday cage.”

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