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Maxwell CoilInfoSheet: - Coils - 
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A particular kind of gradient coil, commonly used to create magnetic field gradients along the direction of the main magnetic field. The maxwell coil consists of a pair of coils separated by 1.73 times their radius. Current flows in the opposite sense in the two coils, and produces a very linear gradient.
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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is based on the magnetic resonance phenomenon, and is used for medical diagnostic imaging since ca. 1977 (see also MRI History).
The first developed MRI devices were constructed as long narrow tunnels. In the meantime the magnets became shorter and wider. In addition to this short bore magnet design, open MRI machines were created. MRI machines with open design have commonly either horizontal or vertical opposite installed magnets and obtain more space and air around the patient during the MRI test.
The basic hardware components of all MRI systems are the magnet, producing a stable and very intense magnetic field, the gradient coils, creating a variable field and radio frequency (RF) coils which are used to transmit energy and to encode spatial positioning. A computer controls the MRI scanning operation and processes the information.
The range of used field strengths for medical imaging is from 0.15 to 3 T. The open MRI magnets have usually field strength in the range 0.2 Tesla to 0.35 Tesla. The higher field MRI devices are commonly solenoid with short bore superconducting magnets, which provide homogeneous fields of high stability.
There are this different types of magnets:
Resistive Magnet
Permanent Magnet
Superconducting Magnet
The majority of superconductive magnets are based on niobium-titanium (NbTi) alloys, which are very reliable and require extremely uniform fields and extreme stability over time, but require a liquid helium cryogenic system to keep the conductors at approximately 4.2 Kelvin (-268.8 Celsius). To maintain this temperature the magnet is enclosed and cooled by a cryogen containing liquid helium (sometimes also nitrogen).
The gradient coils are required to produce a linear variation in field along one direction, and to have high efficiency, low inductance and low resistance, in order to minimize the current requirements and heat deposition. A Maxwell coil usually produces linear variation in field along the z-axis; in the other two axes it is best done using a saddle coil, such as the Golay coil.
The radio frequency coils used to excite the nuclei fall into two main categories; surface coils and volume coils. The essential element for spatial encoding, the gradient coil sub-system of the MRI scanner is responsible for the encoding of specialized contrast such as flow information, diffusion information, and modulation of magnetization for spatial tagging.
An analog to digital converter turns the nuclear magnetic resonance signal to a digital signal. The digital signal is then sent to an image processor for Fourier transformation and the image of the MRI scan is displayed on a monitor.

For Ultrasound Imaging (USI) see Ultrasound Machine at US-TIP.com.

See also the related poll results: 'In 2010 your scanner will probably work with a field strength of' and 'Most outages of your scanning system are caused by failure of'
Radiology-tip.comGamma Camera,  Linear Accelerator
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Radiology-tip.comUltrasound Machine,  Real-Time Scanner
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Further Reading:
  News & More:
Kyoto University and Canon reduce cost of MRI scanner to one tenth
Monday, 11 January 2016   by www.electronicsweekly.com    
A transportable MRI machine to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients
Wednesday, 22 April 2015   by medicalxpress.com    
Portable 'battlefield MRI' comes out of the lab
Thursday, 30 April 2015   by physicsworld.com    
Chemists develop MRI technique for peeking inside battery-like devices
Friday, 1 August 2014   by www.eurekalert.org    
New devices doubles down to detect and map brain signals
Monday, 23 July 2012   by scienceblog.com    
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Helmholtz Pair CoilInfoSheet: - Coils - 
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A Helmholtz pair consists of two identical circular magnetic coils that are placed symmetrically one on each side of the experimental area along a common axis, and separated by a distance equal to the radius of the coil. Actually, a slightly larger separation improves the field uniformity. Each coil carries an equal electrical current flowing in the same direction. A cylindrical region extending between the centers of the two coils and approximately 1/5 of their diameter will have a nearly spatially uniform magnetic field.
In MRI, the Helmholtz pair coils are used as z-gradient coils to produce linear variations in the main magnetic field along the z-axis. Also in use as z-gradient coils are the Maxwell coils (three coils in a slightly more complicated geometry than the Helmholtz configuration). These coils are only occasionally used as RF coils for imaging.
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Further Reading:
  Basics:
How strong are magnets?
   by my.execpc.com    
Helmholtz coil
   by en.wikipedia.org    
Imaging Hardware
   by www.fmrib.ox.ac.uk    
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Design & Development of Helmholtz Coil for Hyperpolarized MRI
2010   by www.comsol.com    
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