Approaching ultimate intrinsic signal-to-noise ratio with loop and dipole antennas

Riccardo Lattanzi, Graham C. Wiggins, Bei Zhang, Qi Duan, Ryan Brown, Daniel K. Sodickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Previous work with body-size objects suggested that loops are optimal MR detectors at low fields, whereas electric dipoles are required to maximize signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) at ultrahigh fields (≥ 7 T). Here we investigated how many loops and/or dipoles are needed to approach the ultimate intrinsic SNR (UISNR) at various field strengths. Methods: We calculated the UISNR inside dielectric cylinders mimicking different anatomical regions. We assessed the performance of various arrays with respect to the UISNR. We validated our results by comparing simulated and experimental coil performance maps. Results: Arrays with an increasing number of loops can rapidly approach the UISNR at fields up to 3 T, but are suboptimal at ultrahigh fields for body-size objects. The opposite is true for dipole arrays. At 7 T and above, 16 dipoles provide considerably larger central SNR than any possible loop array, and minimal g factor penalty for parallel imaging. Conclusions: Electric dipoles can be advantageous at ultrahigh fields because they can produce both curl-free and divergence-free currents, whereas loops are limited to divergence-free contributions only. Combining loops and dipoles may be optimal for body imaging at 3 T, whereas arrays of loops or dipoles alone may perform better at lower or higher field strengths, respectively. Magn Reson Med 79:1789–1803, 2018.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1789-1803
Number of pages15
JournalMagnetic resonance in medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • RF coils
  • coil performance map
  • dyadic Green's functions
  • electric dipoles
  • parallel imaging
  • ultimate intrinsic SNR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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