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Size Does Matter (for Lab Equipment) MR Solutions
Comparison chart of liquid helium free (dry magnet) and wet magnet MRI systems.

Size Does Matter (for Lab Equipment)

The introduction of liquid helium free MRI machines could save precious laboratory space compared to scanners that use traditional scanners that use wet superconducting magnets bathed in liquid helium.

It's true, size really does matter when it comes to laboratory space. But a UK-based company has introduced a solution that could save precious lab space that would otherwise be dedicated to a bulky MRI scanner.

MR Solutions said its liquid helium free, pre-clinical, high field MRI scanner is now available in a range of MRI, and multi-modality MRI scanners (with PET and SPECT modules) from 3T up to 9.4T. The company claims to be the only one with an installed base of liquid helium free, high field scanners. As the image above shows, the size and weight comparisons between liquid helium free and wet superconducting magnets – bathed in liquid helium - is quite staggering.

The company also noted these other benefits of being liquid helium free:

  • A solenoid can be placed on the casing, which reduces the stray magnetic field to a few centimeters
  • There are no ongoing costly helium top-ups – helium price has risen by 100% in the last decade and is continuing to rise
  • From a capital cost point of view, they can be wheeled in without cranes or extensive building alterations both to accommodate the scanners and the extensive emergency venting which is required with a “wet” MRI scanner
  • Multi-modality imaging does away with the need for separate systems. PET-MRI or SPECT-MRI imaging either for independent acquisition, sequential acquisition, or simultaneous acquisition
  • Can be placed in class 3 and 4 laboratories as there is no external exhaust required and the stray magnetic field is negligible

"One of the driving forces in the development of liquid helium free technology was the availability of space which traditionally has been a problem for many of our clients," said David Taylor, chairman at MR Solutions. "What is particularly exciting from our point of view was that in redesigning the MRI scanner we were able to upgrade the image quality so that performance is unsurpassed.”

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