An innovative head-only 7T MRI system that delivers spatial resolution that is difficult to achieve with today's whole-body 7T systems, and has the footprint and weight of a whole-body 3T scanner is proposed. This new im- aging system combines a high-performance asymmetrical head gradient that delivers 130 mT/m and 900 T/m/s performance in an actively shielded, low-cryogen, lightweight head-only 7T magnet. The multi-disciplinary group from GE Global Research, the University of California-San Francisco, and the Mayo Clinic will deliver this unique imaging tool to better understand and discover new brain processes. The high gradient amplitude and high slew rate will be leveraged to develop applications for high spatial resolution imaging of brain microstruc- ture, functional brain activation, arterial and venous vasculature, and to profile brain metabolites that are criti- cal to neurotransmission and brain function, especially in regions of the brain that have previously eluded re- searchers due to resolution and susceptibility limitations. The proposed head-only 7T MR system is dramatically smaller and 70% lighter weight compared to other ultra-high field MRI systems. This enables a high-resolution brain research platform to be installed in locations that otherwise could not support a conventional ultra-high field MRI system, providing greater access to this technology to increase knowledge generation of how the brain works.
MR Imaging at ultra-high field strengths of 7T has been used for high spatial resolution imaging of the brain to better understand the how brain structural and activity connectivity affects brain function and control. Imaging at field strengths of 9.4T and higher, with massively heavier magnets, have been proposed to attain higher spa- tial resolution. We propose the development of an innovative 7T MRI system with high-performance head gradi- ents to deliver a small footprint 7T MRI scanner that is 1/3 the weight of conventional 7T magnets and uses 50 liters of liquid helium in a sealed-loop cryogenic system?having the footprint of a conventional 3T MR scanner but with the image quality approaching that of a 9.4T MRI, allowing a new, more accessible research tool to dis- cover new brain processes.