03-05 Gradient Coils
Magnetic field gradients are necessary to create MR images. The reasons for this will be explained in detail in Chapter 6. As shown in Figure 01-04, two wires with electric current moving in the opposite direction can create a linear change of the magnetic field between each other when placed at the correct distance. This is also known as a magnetic field gradient.
Three sets of gradient coils are necessary to be able to create a weak magnetic field in any direction in space (Figure 03-08). With mid- and high-field systems, the strength of the magnetic field created by gradient coils is approximately 100 times lower than the main field.
The performance of gradients coils is measured in mT/m, their peak amplitudes. Common peak amplitudes are 10 mT/m; high performance systems require up to 30 mT/m. A second important property of gradients is their rise time (ms) or slew rate (mT/m/ms). The faster the rise time or the higher the slew rate, the better the system performance will be, i.e., the faster image data can be acquired.
03-05-01 Eddy Currents
These currents are introduced by the gradients’ time varying magnetic field. They can both degrade the homogeneity of the static magnetic field as well as distort the gradient pulse profiles.
If they are not compensated for, image quality will significantly decrease. One way to counteract their influence is by shielding the gradient so that their fields are restricted to the interior of the patient bore.