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Preamplifier
 
A device that amplifies very low-level signals. A preamplifier is generally placed close to its signal source and has a very low noise figure as it is the principal determinant of electronic noise within the system. Preamplifiers used in NMR systems usually have a 50 ohm input impedance, and require a matching network to interface to the RF coil, although preamplifiers with high input impedance may be used with surface coils. Such devices typically use a field effect transistor (FET) as their input stage.
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Field Effect Transistor
 
(FET) Preamplifiers with high input impedance may be used with surface coils. Such devices typically use a field effect transistor as their input stage.
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Matching Network
 
An arrangement of reactive elements (inductors and capacitors) used to transform an input impedance of a given value to an output impedance of a second value. Such circuits are used in interfacing high impedance RF coils to low impedance (usually 50 ohms) transmission lines that feed RF energy to the coil or send the MR signal to an MR preamplifier.
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Noise Figure
 
A measure of the noise performance of an amplifier or chain of amplifiers such as a MR receiver. In MR systems the preamplifier should have a very low noise figure to prevent significant degradation of the signal to noise ratio of the MR signal. Noise figure is a ratio in dB's, and is given by: 20 log [Vo/(ViG)] where Vi is the input thermal noise voltage, Vo is the amplifier output noise level and G is the voltage gain of the amplifier (when the input and output impedance's of the amplifier are equal).
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ReceiverForum -
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The portion of the MRI equipment that detects and amplifies the RF signals picked up by the receiver coil. Includes a preamplifier, MR signal amplifier, and demodulator. Phase sensitive detectors (electronic device in which the output is dependent on the instantaneous difference in phase between two input signals) are used to down-convert the MR signal to audio-frequencies prior to digitization.
See also MRI Equipment.
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