Design and evaluation of a hybrid radiofrequency applicator for magnetic resonance imaging and RF induced hyperthermia: electromagnetic field simulations up to 14.0 Tesla and proof-of-concept at 7.0 Tesla


  • L. Winter
  • C. Özerdem
  • W. Hoffmann
  • D. Santoro
  • A. Müller
  • H. Waiczies
  • R. Seemann
  • A. Graessl
  • P. Wust
  • T. Niendorf


  • PLoS ONE


  • PLoS ONE 8 (4): e61661


  • This work demonstrates the feasibility of a hybrid radiofrequency (RF) applicator that supports magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and MR controlled targeted RF heating at ultrahigh magnetic fields (B0>/=7.0T). For this purpose a virtual and an experimental configuration of an 8-channel transmit/receive (TX/RX) hybrid RF applicator was designed. For TX/RX bow tie antenna electric dipoles were employed. Electromagnetic field simulations (EMF) were performed to study RF heating versus RF wavelength (frequency range: 64 MHz (1.5T) to 600 MHz (14.0T)). The experimental version of the applicator was implemented at B0 = 7.0T. The applicators feasibility for targeted RF heating was evaluated in EMF simulations and in phantom studies. Temperature co-simulations were conducted in phantoms and in a human voxel model. Our results demonstrate that higher frequencies afford a reduction in the size of specific absorption rate (SAR) hotspots. At 7T (298 MHz) the hybrid applicator yielded a 50% iso-contour SAR (iso-SAR-50%) hotspot with a diameter of 43 mm. At 600 MHz an iso-SAR-50% hotspot of 26 mm in diameter was observed. RF power deposition per RF input power was found to increase with B0 which makes targeted RF heating more efficient at higher frequencies. The applicator was capable of generating deep-seated temperature hotspots in phantoms. The feasibility of 2D steering of a SAR/temperature hotspot to a target location was demonstrated by the induction of a focal temperature increase (DeltaT = 8.1 K) in an off-center region of the phantom. Temperature simulations in the human brain performed at 298 MHz showed a maximum temperature increase to 48.6C for a deep-seated hotspot in the brain with a size of (19x23x32)mm(3) iso-temperature-90%. The hybrid applicator provided imaging capabilities that facilitate high spatial resolution brain MRI. To conclude, this study outlines the technical underpinnings and demonstrates the basic feasibility of an 8-channel hybrid TX/RX applicator that supports MR imaging, MR thermometry and targeted RF heating in one device.