Heidelberg University

At the intersection of microengineering and magnetic resonance: challenges and opportunities

Neil MacKinnon, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology


Magnetic resonance is well known in clinical settings as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a method for revealing the internal structures of a patient together with their function, non-invasively and non-destructively. As a method that interrogates nuclear spin, there are many spectroscopic applications that arise together with imaging to reveal material structure and dynamics. As a technique reliant on large superconducting magnets and electronics cabinets filling a laboratory, what can a microengineering approach contribute to expanding the application space?

In this series we will explore this question, starting with an introduction to the underlying principles of MR so that the physical basis for the technique's strengths and weaknesses can be understood. We will then delve into the role microengineering approaches can take in addressing many of the weaknesses, covering topics in RF electronics, RF resonators, and signal enhancement strategies (hyperpolarization). The link between hardware advances and novel applications will be made with a selection of case studies which are uniquely enabled by microengineering approaches.

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