Purpose: We add user-controllable direct currents (DC) to the individual elements of a 32-channel radio-frequency (RF) receive array to provide B0 shimming ability while preserving the array's reception sensitivity and parallel imaging performance.
Methods: Shim performance using constrained DC current (± 2.5A) is simulated for brain arrays ranging from 8 to 128 elements. A 32-channel 3-tesla brain array is realized using inductive chokes to bridge the tuning capacitors on each RF loop. The RF and B0 shimming performance is assessed in bench and imaging measurements.
Results: The addition of DC currents to the 32-channel RF array is achieved with minimal disruption of the RF performance and/or negative side effects such as conductor heating or mechanical torques. The shimming results agree well with simulations and show performance superior to third-order spherical harmonic (SH) shimming. Imaging tests show the ability to reduce the standard frontal lobe susceptibility-induced fields and improve echo planar imaging geometric distortion. The simulation of 64- and 128-channel brain arrays suggest that even further shimming improvement is possible (equivalent to up to 6th-order SH shim coils).
Conclusion: Including user-controlled shim currents on the loops of a conventional highly parallel brain array coil is feasible with modest current levels and produces improved B0 shimming performance over standard second-order SH shimming.
Keywords: RF receive arrays; brain MRI; echo planar imaging; geometric distortion; multi-coil shimming.
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.