Assessment of radio-frequency heating of a parallel transmit coil in a phantom using multi-echo proton resonance frequency shift thermometry.
Jeong H., Restivo MC., Jezzard P., Hess AT.
We propose a workflow for validating parallel transmission (pTx) radio-frequency (RF) magnetic field heating patterns using Proton-Resonance Frequency shift (PRF)-based MR thermometry. Electromagnetic (EM) and thermal simulations of a 7 T 8-channel dipole coil were done using commercially available software (Sim4Life) to assess RF heating. The fabrication method for a phantom with electrical properties matched to human tissue is also described, along with methods for its electrical and thermal characterisation. Energy was deposited to specific transmit channels, whilst acquiring 3D PRF data using a pair of interleaved RF shim transmit modes. A multi-echo readout and pre-scan stabilisation protocol were used for increased sensitivity and to correct for measurement-to-measurement instabilities. The electrical properties of the phantom were found to be within 10% of the intended values. Adoption of a 14-min stabilisation scan gave sufficient suppression of any evolving background spatial variation in the B0 field to achieve <0.001 °C/mm thermometry drift over 10 min of subsequent scanning. Using two RF shim transmit modes enabled full phantom coverage and combining multiple echo times enabled a 13-54% improvement in the RMSE sensitivity to temperature changes. Combining multiple echoes reduced the peak RMSE by 45% and visually reduced measurement-to-measurement instabilities. A reference fibre optic probe showed temperature deviations from the PRF-estimated temperature to be smaller than 0.5 °C. Given the importance of RF safety in pTx applications, this workflow enables accurate validation of RF heating simulations with minimal additional hardware requirements.