Magnetic Metamaterial Enables Higher-Quality, Faster MRI Scans

Boston University researchers have designed a new magnetic metamaterial that can create clearer images at more than twice the speed of a standard MRI machine scan. The researchers say that the material could be used as an additive technology to increase the imaging power of lower-strength MRI machines – increasing the number of patients seen by clinics and decreasing costs, without the risks that come with using higher-strength magnetic fields. The magnetic metamaterial is made up of an array of units called helical resonators, which are 3-cm-tall structures created from 3D-printed plastic and coils of thin copper wire. Helical resonators can be grouped together in a flexible array that is bendable enough to cover any part of a person's body in need of imaging. When the array is placed near the body, the resonators interact with the magnetic field of the machine, and boost the signal-to-noise ratio of the MRI.