A 32-channel 3T receive-only phased-array head coil was developed for human brain imaging. The helmet-shaped array was designed to closely fit the head with individual overlapping circular elements arranged in patterns of hexagonal and pentagonal symmetry similar to that of a soccer ball. The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and noise amplification (g-factor) in accelerated imaging applications were quantitatively evaluated in phantom and human images and compared with commercially available head coils. The 32-channel coil showed SNR gains of up to 3.5-fold in the cortex and 1.4-fold in the corpus callosum compared to a (larger) commercial eight-channel head coil. The experimentally measured g-factor performance of the helmet array showed significant improvement compared to the eight-channel array (peak g-factor 59% and 26% of the eight-channel values for four- and fivefold acceleration). The performance of the arrays is demonstrated in high-resolution and highly accelerated brain images.
Copyright (c) 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.