Microstrip RF surface coil design for extremely high-field MRI and spectroscopy

Xiaoliang Zhang, Kamil Ugurbil, Wei Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


A new type of high-frequency RF surface coil was developed for in vivo proton or other nuclei NMR applications at 7T. This is a purely distributed-element and transmission line design. The coil consists of a thin strip conductor (copper or silver) and a ground plane separated by a low-loss dielectric material with a thickness (H). Due to its specific semi-open transmission line structure, substantial electromagnetic energy is stored in the dielectric material between the thin conductor and the ground plane, which results in a reduced radiation loss and a reduced perturbation of sample loading to the RF coil compared to conventional surface coils. The coil is characterized by a high Q factor, no RF shielding, small physical coil size, lower cost, and easy fabrication. A brief theoretical description of the microstrip RF coil is given that can be used to guide the coil designs. A set of gradient-recalled echo images were acquired by using the single- and two-turn microstrip RF surface coils from both phantom and human brain at 7T, which show good penetration and sensitivity. The two-turn coil design significantly improves the B1 symmetry as predicted by the microstrip theory. The optimum H for microstrip surface coils is approximately 7 mm. This coil geometry yields a B1 penetration similar to that of conventional surface coils. SNR comparison was made between the microstrip coil and conventional surface coils with and without RF shielding. The results reveal that the novel surface coil design based on the microstrip concept makes very high-field MRI/MRS more convenient and efficient in research and future clinics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-450
Number of pages8
JournalMagnetic resonance in medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • 7 Tesla
  • Brain
  • High field
  • MR imaging
  • Microstrip resonator
  • RF coil
  • Surface coil


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