Transmit Array Spatial Encoding (TRASE) MRI

Highlights

Novel technology significantly reduces the footprint and cost of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems, while making them completely silent.

'Transmit Array Spatial Encoding' (TRASE) is a highly innovative, new and completely silent way of performing MRI. It uses radio frequency (RF) phase gradients and the existing MRI RF sub-system for image formation, a task normally performed by the costly and noisy B0-gradient system. The elimination of the MRI B0-gradient sub-system (gradient coils, amplifiers and dedicated cooling system) significantly reduces the cost of an MRI system. Furthermore, the removal of the B0-gradient coil creates a much smaller MRI magnet and reduces the system footprint. This allows MRIs to be placed in locations they were not available in before, such as remote clinics or emergency centers.

Technology transfer

This technology is available for licensing. There is an opportunity for this invention to be developed for your particular applications. We can also assist on the final product development according to your specifications. The business opportunity may be referred to by its NRC IDs: 11479, 11921, 12004 and 12529.

Market applications

This technology has applications in medical devices industry, especially MRI systems manufacturing.

How it works

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) provides high-resolution and high soft-tissue contrasts, however, the systems have evolved to become a very high-cost imaging solution. There is a need, accordingly, for smaller and lower-cost high-resolution imaging modalities with good soft-tissue contrast.

Other diagnostic imaging modalities may offer a lower-cost solution as there is in general a very large cost difference between X-ray, ultrasound and MRI. However, ultrasound has poor contrasting capabilities for soft tissues and is especially impeded by the skull and spinal vertebrae. X-ray computer tomography (CT) has poor soft-tissue contrast, generates artifacts near bones (e.g. spinal cord), and uses high-dose ionizing radiation.

'Transmit Array Spatial Encoding' (TRASE) is a radically new and silent way of performing MRI. It uses RF phase gradients and the existing MRI RF sub-system for image formation, a task normally performed by the costly and noisy B0-gradient system. The removal of the B0-gradient coil reduces the costs associated with constructing and operating an MRI system.

The technology is focused on methods RF MRI, including spatial encoding using RF transmission coil and spatially selective excitation. The technique for uniform k-space transversal using only a static magnet and an RF transmitter array is provided. Elimination of the gradient magnetic field systems substantially reduces the cost and size of the whole MRI setup, while maintaining the capability for 3D imaging.

More specifically, the technology provides:

  • a process for selective spatial excitation of a sample in MRI using RF pulses and slice selection without the use of a conventional frequency gradient field and maintains proper image reconstruction
  • a useful method for imaging moving parts of the body, like cardiac imaging or where movement is a big problem like kinetic knee studies
  • an opportunity to create larger openings for receiving patients and making them more comfortable by reducing claustrophobia, apprehension and nervousness. This also makes the system more suitable for children than current technology
  • a means to reduce building and maintenance costs by eliminating the 3-phase power requirements of B0-gradient systems, as well as eliminating ever increasing cryogen costs and makes TRASE MRI suitable for installation in more remote, non-urban areas
  • an alternative to integrate with traditional superconducting MRI systems for applications where the use of strong and noisy B0-gradients are prohibitive. For example, by using TRASE in these circumstances, peripheral nerve stimulation in the patient or image artifacts near the site of metallic implants can be eliminated to overcome these issues when using traditional MRI systems

Benefits

TRASE is a game-changing technology that significantly reduces the footprint and cost of MRI systems. The technology makes the MRI systems more suitable for deployment in non-urban areas or clinic environments. This completely silent imaging technology offers reduced patient anxiety associated with the loud and smaller-bore B0-gradient based MRI systems.

Patents

NRC file #11479: https://www.google.com/patents/US7141973.

NRC file #11921: https://www.google.com/patents/US8159222.

NRC file #12004: https://www.google.com/patents/US8228062.

NRC file #12529: (Tradesecret - RF Phase-Gradient Coil with Birdcage Sine Field) Patents granted in US, Europe and China.

Contact

To inquire about this technology, please contact:

Claude Larose, Business Advisor
Telephone: 514-496-6173
EmailClaude.Larose@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

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