In this online webinar lecture (a first for Engineering Scotland, kindly facilitated online by the University of Glasgow) Professor David Porter provided a fascinating insight into the technical developments that are underway in Glasgow to address the issues of the new generation of ultra-high-field MRI scanners. The 7T scanner which was the main focus of the innovation lecture is installed in the Imaging Centre of Excellence (ICE) at the Queen Elizabeth University hospital in Glasgow and provides images with a much-increased level of detail that promises to improve diagnostic confidence and detect abnormalities that would be missed on standard equipment, enabling scientists and clinicians to study the human body in greater resolution than ever before and, more generally, to exploit the enormous potential of 7T MRI in diagnostic neuroimaging.
The lecture was followed by a lively and informative Q&A session.
Professor David Porter is a physicist specialising in magnetic resonance imaging particularly of the human brain. At 7 Tesla, this MRI scanner presents a wealth of opportunities to push back the boundaries of knowledge and innovation, but it also presents significant technical challenges. Challenges arising at this higher field strength from shorter radiofrequency wavelength leads to poor uniformity and signal loss in some brain regions, preventing the routine use of 7T MRI in clinical applications. A further challenge is the increased sensitivity of the imaging process to any patient motion during scans as the spatial resolution is improved.