The theoretically known degeneracy condition of the band-pass birdcage coil has rarely been exploited in transmit coil designs. We have created an eight-channel degenerate birdcage for the human limbs at 7 T, with dedicated Tx/Rx switches and a Butler matrix. The coil can be split into two half cylinders, as required for its application to patients with limited mobility. The design of the coil, the Butler matrix, and Tx/Rx switches relied on a combination of analytical, circuital, and numerical simulations. The birdcage theory was extended to the degenerate case. The theoretical and practical aspects of the design and construction of the coil are presented. The performance of the coil was demonstrated by simulations, workbench, and scanner measurements. The fully assembled prototype presents good performance in terms of efficiency, B1 homogeneity, and signal-to-noise ratio, despite the asymmetry introduced by the splittable design. The first in vivo images of the knee are also shown. A novel RF coil design consisting of an eight-channel splittable degenerate birdcage has been developed, and it is now available for 7 T MRI applications of the human lower limbs, including high-resolution imaging of the knee cartilages and of the patellar trabecular structure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics