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Anda di halaman 1dari 12

Transmit Coil Arrays

Andre Kuehne,

1,2

* Sigrun Goluch,

1,2

Patrick Waxmann,

3

Frank Seifert,

3

Bernd Ittermann,

3

Ewald Moser,

1,2

and Elmar Laistler

1,2

Purpose: To establish a framework for transmit array power

balance calculations based on power correlation matrices to

accurately quantify the loss contributions from different mech-

anisms such as coupling, lumped components, and radiation.

Theory and Methods: Starting from Poyntings theorem,

power correlation matrices are derived for all terms in the

power balance, which is formulated as a matrix equation.

Finite-difference time-domain simulations of two 7 T eight-

channel head array coils at 297.2 MHz are used to verify the

theoretical considerations and demonstrate their application.

Care is taken to accurately incorporate all loss mechanisms.

The power balance for static B

1

phase shims as well as two-

dimensional spatially selective transmit SENSE pulses is

shown.

Results: The simulated power balance shows an excellent

agreement with theory, with a maximum power imbalance of less

than 0.11%. Power loss contributions from the different loss

mechanisms vary significantly between the investigated setups,

and depending on the excitation mode imposed on the coil.

Conclusion: The presented approach enables a straightfor-

ward loss evaluation for an arbitrary excitation of transmit coil

arrays. Worst-case power imbalance and losses are calculated

in a straightforward manner. This allows for deeper insight into

transmit array loss mechanisms, incorporation of radiated

power components in specific absorption rate calculations and

verification of electromagnetic simulations. Magn Reson Med

000:000000, 2014. VC

2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Key words: parallel transmission; coil array; power balance;

Poynting theorem; electromagnetic simulation; loss analysis

INTRODUCTION

The power balance, i.e., the breakdown of all coil losses

by loss mechanism, is an important metric for assessing

radiofrequency (RF) coil efficiency. While power deposi-

tion inside a conducting sample cannot be avoided due

to the concomitant electric fields linked to the desired

excitation RF field (B

1

), additional losses occurring in

the coil itself can be minimized by prudent design

choices. To quantify the contributions of coil and sample

losses, the power efficiency, i.e., the fraction of the input

power deposited in the lossy sample, is used as a figure

of merit for single coils (1,2).

Multiple coil elements can be combined to form

phased arrays for reception (3) as well as transmission

(4) in order to increase receive sensitivity and excitation

fidelity, respectively. However, inductive, capacitive,

and resistive interactions between the individual coil

elements incur additional losses, leading to increased

noise, decreased transmission efficiency, and less dis-

tinct coil sensitivity profiles. A variety of methods exists

to reduce coil coupling effects in transmit arrays, ranging

from coil overlap (3), decoupling annexes (5), decoupling

interfaces (6), shared L/C elements (7), transformers (8),

and resonant structures (911) to active techniques

involving modified transmitter hardware (1214).

At ultrahigh field strength (_ 7 T), coils employing

radiative power transfer into the subject have been

shown to yield advantageous B

1

distributions (15), and

traveling-wave magnetic resonance imaging even com-

pletely relies on radio wave propagation at high frequen-

cies (16,17). However, power loss due to unwanted far

field radiation is increasing with frequency as well (18

and references therein). Although electromagnetic energy

leaving the magnet bore is, of course, almost perfectly

contained by the scanners Faraday cage and ultimately

dissipated in the sample and other lossy structures

inside the scanner room, its interference pattern with the

desired coil fields is hardly predictable; and radiative

losses are routinely mitigated through the use of metallic

coil shielding structures (19).

The introduction of shields and additional decoupling

components, however, can introduce further losses, and

it is of high interest to the coil designer to weigh their

benefits against the costs. Apart from low loss require-

ments, component voltage and power limits affect design

choices as well and have to be carefully examined regard-

ing their impact on coil performance. According to manu-

facturer datasheets, high-voltage rated capacitors often

exhibit far lower Q-factors compared to capacitors with

lower working voltages, but conversely feature lower

maximum current limits due to their increased losses.

Ideally, power is mainly dissipated in the subject. This

power deposition, however, critically depends on the

exact superposition of the individual coil elements elec-

tric fields, and the assumption of a lossless coil has been

1

Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, Medical Univer-

sity of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

2

MR Centre of Excellence, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

3

Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Braunschweig und Berlin,

Germany.

Grant sponsor: Austrian BMWFJ FFG; Grant number: 832107 (Vienna

Research Studio for Ultra-High Field Magnetic Resonance Applications);

Grant sponsor: EMRP (jointly funded by the EMRP participating countries

within EURAMET and the European Union); Grant number: HLT06; Grant

sponsor: (E.M.): Siemens Medical Solutions (Erlangen, Germany).

*Correspondence to: Andre Kuehne, M.Sc., Medizinische Universit at Wien,

Zentrum f ur Medizinische Physik und Biomedizinische Technik, Exzellenz-

zentrum Hochfeld-MR, W ahringer Strabe 1820, A-1090 Wien, Austria.

E-mail: andre.kuehne@meduniwien.ac.at

Received 14 April 2014; revised 19 September 2014; accepted 22

September 2014

DOI 10.1002/mrm.25493

Published online 00 Month 2014 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.

com).

Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 00:0000 (2014)

VC

2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. 1

shown to yield significantly different specific absorption

rate (SAR) estimates as compared to more realistic models

(20). The absence of specific loss mechanisms will invari-

ably lead to a different redistribution of the input power

onto the remaining losses, impacting local and global

SAR estimates and thus apparent coil performance.

Electromagnetic simulations are an important tool to

evaluate coil design choices and, additionally, are obliga-

tory for SAR evaluation of multichannel coils used in

parallel transmission (21). However, computational

approaches such as the finite-difference time-domain

(FDTD) method (22) often do not encompass the full

problem space. Instead of including the Faraday cage,

free-space boundary conditions are being used (23,24),

thus introducing a radiated power component that needs

to be accounted for when estimating coil efficiency and

SAR (18,25). This simplification is useful for multiple

reasons. From a purely practical standpoint, the inclu-

sion of the cage greatly raises the memory requirements

for the simulation. Additionally, the simulation time

will increase, as it is proportional to the Q-factor of the

modeled system, and the closed scanner room can be

regarded as a high-Q cavity. Finally, the knowledge

about radiated power leaving the bore is invaluable to

the coil designer, as it allows to quantify and compare

the efficacy of different radiation shielding measures.

Increasingly complex coil setups have spurred the

development of sophisticated simulation approaches

(2628), where data are often exchanged between differ-

ent commercial simulation programs and in-house devel-

oped postprocessing tools. Although this allows a very

flexible and powerful analysis of coil behavior, it is

imperative to ensure the integrity of the results, espe-

cially if patient safety is directly affected. Frequently, B

1

mapping and temperature measurements are used for

simulation validation (29); however, it is desirable to

additionally verify a particular coil simulation in its

entirety based on a single metric. Energy conservation,

expressed for electromagnetic fields in the Poynting the-

orem, is a prime candidate for this purpose. Trivially,

the power balance can be calculated after superimposing

the single-channel fields. However, this approach is tedi-

ous, as it is computationally intensive in practice and

only allows examination of a limited number of driving

modes. As yet, no comprehensive scheme adapted to the

unique loss behavior of transmit arrays has been pub-

lished. It is well known, on the other hand, that the

power correlation matrix formalism can greatly simplify

the estimation of power deposited inside lossy materials,

and it is routinely used for local and global SAR estima-

tion in simulation as well as in situ (3032). Starting out

from our initial investigations (33), the aim of this article

is to extend this formalism by deriving a power correla-

tion matrix for each term contributing to the total power

balance. This will allow to address the aforementioned

coil design and simulation issues by providing a frame-

work for straightforward and consistent calculation of

all loss terms, comparison of different array design

approaches via their respective loss matrices, and integ-

rity validation of electromagnetic field simulations in

order to more accurately predict and evaluate transmit

coil array behavior.

THEORY

Conservation of electromagnetic energy is expressed in

Poyntings theorem (34). For time-harmonic fields, the

real part of the theorem represents the power balance of

the system, P

src

= P

dis

P

rad

, equating the source power

P

src

in a volume V to the sum of the power dissipated

inside, P

dis

, and the power P

rad

radiated through the vol-

umes boundaries:

1

2

___

V

Re J

+

E ( )dV =

1

2

___

V

s r ( )[E[

2

dV

1

2

__

_

@V

Re E H

+

( )ds: [1]

Here, E, H, J, and r represent the spatially varying

electric field, magnetic field, current density, and con-

ductivity, respectively, and the asterisk indicates com-

plex conjugation.

As the individual coils of an N-channel transmit array

are driven by N discrete sources, the left-hand integral

can be replaced by the sum

1

2

N

i=1

Re I

+

i

U

i

_ _

over the

source voltages and currents U

i

and I

i

. Treating the sys-

tem as purely linear, all fields, voltages, and currents

can be represented as linear combinations of their

respective single-channel excitation values, e.g.,

E =

N

i=1

a

i

E

i

, where a

i

is a dimensionless complex scal-

ing factor and E

i

represents the electric field generated

by coil element i for a unit excitation. The scaling factors

are commonly regarded as equivalent to driving voltages

that are variable during a magnetic resonance experi-

ment, being updated in discrete intervals long enough to

maintain the time-harmonic field behavior during each

individual step. Equation [1] must necessarily hold for

each of the discrete steps. To separate the static, i.e.,

geometry dependent, from dynamic, i.e., excitation

dependent, contributions, it can be expressed in terms of

quadratic forms v

H

Qv, with a static Hermitian positive-

semidefinite matrix Q specific to each power term, v

constituting the time-dependent coil array driving volt-

age vector common to all quadratic forms, and super-

script H denoting the conjugate transpose. Subsequently,

these matrices will be derived, with a focus on separat-

ing contributions of different loss mechanisms.

Source Power

Most commonly, transmit arrays are driven using a discrete

power amplifier for each channel, with a fixed source

impedance of Z

0

= 50 V, and the individual coil elements

impedance-matched to Z

0

for maximum power transfer.

When describing the power flow within an N-port network

such as a coil array, three distinct notions of power are of

interest. The forward power P

fwd

denotes the power inci-

dent to the system, with a fraction P

src

of this power being

transmitted into the network, and the remainder P

ref

reflected from it due to imperfect impedance match and

coupling, eventually being absorbed in the power amplifier

circulators. The power flow can be analyzed in terms of

normalized forward and reflected voltage wave vectors, a

2 Kuehne et al.

and b, which are related through the systems N N scat-

tering matrix S via b=Sa (35). The source term in Eq. [1]

can be conveniently formulated in terms of S. Power inci-

dent into the system is given by P

fwd

=

1

2

a

H

a. This can be

expressed as a quadratic form of the driving voltage ampli-

tude vector v =

Z

0

_

a:

P

fwd

=

1

2

a

H

I

N

a = v

H

1

2Z

0

I

N

_ _

v

= v

H

Q

fwd

v:

[2]

With I

N

denoting the identity matrix of size N, the result-

ing forward power matrix Q

fwd

is thus purely diagonal.

Power that is reflected from the network due to mis-

match or lost via interelement coupling can be calculated

from the reflected waves b as P

ref

=

1

2

b

H

b, which can be

rewritten in terms of the incident waves and the scattering

matrix to yield the reflected power correlation matrix Q

ref

:

P

ref

=

1

2

a

H

S

H

S

_ _

a = v

H

1

2Z

0

S

H

S

_ _

v

= v

H

Q

ref

v:

[3]

By convention of Eq. [1], source power is regarded as

negative, while all loss terms are positive, thus defining

total source power as P

src

= v

H

Q

fwd

Q

ref

( ) [ [v.

The elements v

i

of vector v are voltages by dimension

and related to the scaling factors a

i

via a

i

= v

i

=

2 Z

0

P

0

_

,

assuming a forward power equal to P

0

was used for the unit

excitation of the single channel fields. To increase readabil-

ity, the factor k = 2 Z

0

P

0

( )

1

is used throughout the fol-

lowing sections.

Dissipative Losses

It is advantageous to categorize power dissipation into

material and lumped element (e.g., capacitor, inductor,

resistor, etc.) losses, as the discrete elements can be

more easily treated via circuit theoretical methods.

Accordingly, power dissipated inside a lumped element

can be calculated using the voltage drop U across the

element and the current I flowing through it via

P =

1

2

Re UI

+

( ). Arranging the voltages and currents of

multiple lumped elements in column vectors u and i,

the dissipated power is given by P

lmp

=

1

2

Re i

H

u

_ _

. For an

N channel coil, matrices U and I can be constructed, in

which the Nth column contains the voltages or currents

of each lumped component for a unit excitation of coil

element N. The total power dissipated inside the discrete

components for an excitation vector v is now

P

lmp

=

k

2

Re v

H

I

H

Uv

_ _

, and taking the real part via addi-

tion of the complex conjugate leads to

P

lmp

=

k

4

v

H

I

H

Uv v

H

I

H

Uv

_ _

H

_ _

= v

H

k

4

I

H

UU

H

I

_ _

_ _

v

= v

H

Q

lmp

v;

[4]

with Q

lmp

denoting the lumped element loss matrix.

Multiple matrices U and I can be utilized to differentiate

element groups, such as matching, tuning and decou-

pling components.

The power dissipated inside a conductive material via

interfering electric fields generated by multiple sources

can be expressed as a quadratic form as previously

described (4,36)

P

mat

= v

H

Q

mat

v: [5]

The entries q

ij

of the power correlation matrix Q

mat

are

defined as

q

ij

=

k

2

___

V

sE

+

i

E

j

dV; [6]

with the indices ij denoting the coil element number. The

diagonal entries of this matrix denote the power dissipation

when driving a single channel only, whereas the off-diagonal

entries provide a measure of electric field orthogonality and

thus coil element interaction. Apart from a scaling factor,

Q

mat

is identical to the noise resistance matrix of a receive

coil array (3,37). Integrating only over the volume of a spe-

cific medium (e.g., coil substrate, load, etc.) will yield a

matrix for losses inside this particular medium.

Radiative Losses

A radiated power correlation matrix Q

rad

similar to the

dissipated power correlation matrix in Eq. [6] can be

constructed from the single coil fields. Starting with

P

rad

=

1

2

Re v

H

~

Q

rad

v

_ _

; [7]

where the elements ~ q

ij

of matrix

~

Q

rad

are defined as

~ q

ij

= k

__

_

@V

E

j

H

+

i

_ _

ds; [8]

and again taking the real part yields

P

rad

= v

H

1

4

~

Q

rad

~

Q

H

rad

_ _

_ _

v

= v

H

Q

rad

v:

[9]

Power Balance

Poyntings theorem can now be stated in terms of quad-

ratic forms, leading to the matrix equality

Q

fwd

= Q

ref

Q

lmp

Q

mat

Q

rad

: [10]

The individual matrices can be analyzed by estab-

lished mathematical tools, such as Eigendecomposition,

which is routinely applied to investigate the quadratic

forms appearing in (local) SAR calculations (32) or the

evaluation of phased array signal-to-noise ratio (SNR)

(37,38). Eigenvectors form a basis where the power corre-

lation matrices are diagonal; physically, they represent

noninteracting modes (37,39). The corresponding Eigen-

values define the losses occurring when exciting the

Eigenmodes. For a vector v of unit norm, the range of a

Transmit Array Loss Analysis 3

quadratic form v

H

Qv is limited by the largest and small-

est Eigenvalues of the matrix Q. Consequently, these val-

ues can be used to find the maximum and minimum

possible loss contributions pertaining to an arbitrary

power correlation matrix, and thus help in identifying

major loss contributions. A visualization of a possible

practical breakdown of these loss mechanisms into spe-

cific subsets is provided in Figure 1.

Potential violations of the equality can be utilized to

assess the integrity of a given multichannel electromag-

netic coil simulation result. For this purpose, an addi-

tional matrix Q

E

is introduced to the right-hand side,

constituting the error matrix required to balance the

equation. The by magnitude largest Eigenvalue of Q

E

cor-

responds to the maximum power imbalance that might

occur for this simulation. As energy is conserved in elec-

tromagnetic simulations (40), this matrix is expected to

be negligible.

Coupling Effects

Coupling between coil elements manifests as off-diagonal

entries in the Q matrices. As shown in Eq. [10], Poynt-

ings theorem requires that the sum of all loss matrices is

a purely diagonal scaled identity matrix. This implies that

a coil array exhibiting resistive coupling due to shared

lossy current paths, i.e., containing off-diagonal entries in

the material loss matrix Q

mat

, needs to have an associated

loss matrix containing off-diagonal entries with inverted

signs to ensure diagonality of the sum. For a lossless and

nonradiating coil, i.e., Q

lmp

= Q

rad

= 0, this is necessarily

the reflected power matrix Q

ref

, indicating that resistive

coupling cannot be compensated. Consequently, decou-

pling structures eliminating mutual resistances (9) need to

introduce additional losses to fulfill the power balance. In

this case, the lumped element loss matrix Q

lmp

of the

decoupling elements would provide the compensating off-

diagonal entries, thus allowing an (ideally) zero reflected

power matrix. This intrinsic relationship between resis-

tive coupling and losses in transmit arrays is directly

analogous to increased noise and noise correlation in

receive arrays utilizing resistive coupling compensation

(12). Although all decoupling networks will inevitably

introduce some amount of loss in a realistic setup, the

described limitation is fundamental in nature, and defines

a theoretical limit on achievable decoupling with lossless

components. This limitation only pertains to the resistive

part of mutual array element interactions, thus coils

exhibiting only reactive coupling are not affected, and

perfect decoupling is possible without additional losses

required by conservation of power.

METHODS

Coil Setup

To demonstrate the calculation of the loss matrices and

their application to array performance evaluation, two

different eight-channel coil arrays, based on loops and

striplines (41) as their respective building blocks, were

simulated. Both designs, depicted in Figure 2, share their

overall dimensions, consisting of a 1-cm thick cylindrical

former with an outer radius of 13.5 cm, a length of

22.5 cm, and a copper RF shield of equal length with a

radius of 17 cm. These dimensions were chosen to be

similar to a previously investigated setup (18) for com-

parison purposes. Both configurations were loaded with

a 9-cm radius spherical phantom with dielectric proper-

ties similar to brain tissue at 297.2 MHz, and also the

Duke model, which was not truncated to fully capture

potential waveguide mode propagation effects (17). Tun-

ing, matching, and decoupling were adjusted individu-

ally for both arrays and each of the two loading

conditions, and held constant for all further calculations.

The magnet bore was modeled as a 2.45-m long stainless

steel cylindrical sheet with a radius of 44.75 cm, and the

gradient coil and shield assembly approximated as a

122-cm long solid copper annulus with an inner radius

of 34.25 cm and an outer radius of 44.75 cm positioned

at the center of the bore.

The loop array consisted of eight rectangular elements

measuring 9:5 22:5 cm, using 5-mm wide copper strips

as conductive elements. The former material was chosen

as acrylic plastic, with the individual coils arranged con-

formally on the outside. Element decoupling of at least

19 dB for the phantom load and 15 dB for Duke

was achieved with counter-wound air-core solenoid

inductors for nearest-neighbor coils (8).

For the stripline array, the former was composed of

low loss polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), with the 1-cm

wide and 22.5-cm long conductors of the stripline ele-

ments mounted on the inside, and the 5-cm wide ground

planes attached to the outside. The required nearest-

neighbor decoupling capacitance value for this configu-

ration was found to be very small ~ 0:3 pF ( ). However,

the addition of copper strips to connect the decoupling

capacitors to the individual elements introduced a paral-

lel parasitic capacitance larger than required for decou-

pling, making a purely capacitive decoupling impossible.

Consequently, a parallel LC circuit tuned to exhibit a

compensating reactance was used to achieve a decou-

pling of at least 15 dB in the phantom and 18 dB

using the Duke model. This decoupling strategy is

FIG. 1. Branching diagram depicting the separation of the funda-

mental loss mechanisms into multiple subsets. Each subset can

be represented by an individual loss matrix and further subdivided

if a more differentiated loss analysis is desired.

4 Kuehne et al.

closely related to the resonant decoupling introduced by

Avdievich et al. (8), while not eliminating mutual resist-

ance. The S-Matrices for all investigated configurations

are shown in Figure 3.

Electromagnetic Simulations

The arrays were simulated using XFdtd 7.3.2 (Remcom,

State College, PA) and ADS (Agilent, Santa Clara) based on

the cosimulation approach introduced by Kozlov and Turner

(26), and described more in depth by Lemdiasov et al. (27).

A detailed practical description of the method is contained

in a paper recently published by Guerin et al. (42).

The grid resolution varied between 1 and 2 mm in the

coil volume and head of the body model up to 25 mm in

the outer regions of the simulation space, which was ter-

minated with a seven cell perfectly matched layer region

(24). Inside the remaining body, the resolution was 1 cm

at most to sufficiently satisfy the 10 cells-per-wavelength

requirement of the FDTD method. The total simulation

extent was 1.4 1.4 3 m, placing the boundary region

more than k=2 away from the coil. Lumped elements

were replaced by 50 V source ports to enable fast tuning,

matching, and decoupling in the ADS cosimulation. Con-

sequently, the loop array was modeled using 48 ports,

whereas only 24 ports were required for the stripline

design. All ports were driven consecutively using a

modulated Gaussian pulse centered at 297.2 MHz with a

bandwidth of 100 MHz; and transient calculations con-

tinued until a convergence of at least 90 dB was

reached. Steady-state fields were extracted at the center

frequency and the sampling rate for the steady-state field

Fourier transform was manually adjusted to 1 GHz to

resolve the complete spectrum of the input pulse and

prevent aliasing errors. This rigorous simulation regime

was chosen to avoid any confounding errors. After tun-

ing, matching, and decoupling, the single channel

lumped element voltages and currents were calculated in

ADS and the excitation fields were calculated in MAT-

LAB (The Mathworks, Natick, MA) as linear combina-

tions of the initial many-port simulations using scaling

factors determined in the cosimulation. Subsequently,

the field and lumped element data were used to deter-

mine all power correlation matrices. The power imbal-

ance for the initial many-port simulations as well as the

fully combined 8-channel data was evaluated separately

to quantify the impact of the cosimulation approach.

Loss Modeling

To allow simulation of lossy metals with realistic conductiv-

ities (copper: s = 5:8 10

7

S=m, steel: s = 1:45 10

6

S=m),

FIG. 2. Single element schematics and 3D models of the simu-

lated 8-channel loop (top) and stripline (bottom) arrays. Both

designs share the overall dimensions, with the loop coil and strip

coil formers consisting of acrylic plastic and PTFE, respectively.

Tuning and matching capacitors are labeled with C

T

and C

M

,

respectively. Nearest-neighbor decoupling for the loop array is

achieved with counterwound solenoidal inductors, which can be

adjusted by varying the coupling between the two solenoids. The

stripline elements are decoupled using an interconnected parallel

LC circuit which can be adjusted using the variable decoupling

capacitor C

D

. The lumped element values used in the simulation

are shown in the schematics. [Color figure can be viewed in the

online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com.]

FIG. 3. Simulated scattering matrices for all array/load configura-

tions. For the spherical phantom load, the loop-array exhibits bet-

ter decoupling than the stripline-array, whereas this is reversed for

the full body Duke load. [Color figure can be viewed in the

online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com.]

Transmit Array Loss Analysis 5

a good conductor approximation (43) was enabled in XFdtd.

Capacitors were assigned realistic equivalent series resistances

of ATC 100E series capacitors (American Technical Ceramics

Inc., Huntington Station, NY) as provided by the manufacturer

(http://www.atceramics.com/tech-select.aspx). Comparable

component databases are also available from other vendors.

As the exact loss behavior of commonly used variable capaci-

tors depending on their tuning state is not documented by the

manufacturers, a function of the form y = a x

b

c was fitted

to the known equivalent series resistances values of the dis-

crete capacitors used in the simulations to approximate a lossy

capacitor with tuning-dependent equivalent series resistances.

Air-core inductors were assigned a quality factor Q of 570 and

620 for the loop and stripline decoupling components, respec-

tively. These values were approximated for typical air sole-

noid dimensions using wcalc [http://wcalc.sourceforge.net/,

adapted from (35)]. Solder joint resistances were extrapolated

from literature data (44) to 297.2 MHz, assuming a

f

_

frequency dependence. The loss tangents of the plastic and

PTFE formers were tan d =0.011 and tan d =0.0002, respec-

tively (45). Dielectric properties of the phantom were modeled

using averaged values for brain tissue at 297.2 MHz

(e = 50:6; s = 0:66 S=m), and the tissues of the Duke

model were assigned the values given in the ITIS tissue data-

base (46).

Parallel Transmission and RF Pulse Calculation

Power balance calculations were carried out for a set of

static B

1

phase shim settings representing the counterclock-

wise rotating circular polarized (CP) Eigenmodes of the

arrays as well as the equal phase (EP) driving mode (37,38).

The CP

1

mode corresponds to the widely used homogene-

ous Birdcage mode. To illustrate the transition between

the discrete modes, nearest neighbor phase increments

were varied between 0 and 180

. Additionally, two-

dimensional spatially selective transmit SENSE (47) pulses

to excite a checkerboard pattern in the spherical phantom

and a homogeneous slice in both human model and phan-

tom were calculated based on the simulated B

1

fields (48).

The pulses were designed for a target flip angle of 20

using

a spiral trajectory on a 32 32 (220 220 mm

2

) field of

excitation with fourfold spatial oversampling, a maximum

slew rate of 200 mT/m/ms, maximum gradient strength of

40 mT/m and an acceleration factor of r =4, resulting in a

pulse length of 2.40 ms (240 segments). Bloch simulations

were performed to visualize the realized spatial excitation

patterns, and the power balance was calculated for every

pulse segment and also averaged over the whole pulse.

RESULTS

The maximum power imbalance as given by the largest

Eigenvalues of the error matrix Q

e

was 0.010% (40 dB)

for the initial 48-port FDTD simulation of the loop-array

and 0.016% (38 dB) for the final 8-loop field data,

respectively. The 24-port simulation of the stripline-

array exhibited a maximum imbalance of 0.003% (45

dB), with the largest error of the combined stripline array

data reaching 0.11% (30 dB). Table 1 shows the com-

plete power balance of the four counterclockwise rotat-

ing excitations and the EP mode for all simulated

configurations, along with the respective theoretical

maximum and minimum losses and power imbalances.

The corresponding B

1

field patterns of these modes are

depicted in Figure 4. Power balance distributions for

nearest-neighbor incremental phase differences between

0

and 180

courses of the selective excitation pulses are depicted in

Figure 6, together with Bloch simulations of the excita-

tion pattern and the averaged power balance contribu-

tions of each term.

DISCUSSION

Simulation Power Imbalance

The maximum power imbalance we encountered in our

simulations was 0.11%. This negligible value indicates

excellent agreement with theory. Multiple factors may

contribute to the small residual error, most significantly

the minor reciprocity and power balance violation of the

FDTD method when using graded meshes (49). The

imbalance increase between the initial simulation and

the cosimulated data is small and due to error propaga-

tion from the initial simulations. It is notable that the

simulations of the stripline array exhibit a larger error as

compared to the loop array. This reflects the fact that the

absolute error of the simulations scales with forward

power, and in the cosimulations the 24 virtual ports of

the stripline array need to be driven at higher power in

order to achieve the identical excitation as the loop

array. Nevertheless, this deviation is still very small, and

as care was taken to eliminate confounding simulation

errors, the reported imbalances can be regarded as exem-

plary benchmark lower limit errors in FDTD simulations

of comparable complexity.

Load Power Deposition

As can be seen in both Table 1 and Figure 5, the power

deposited in the spherical phantom and human model

depends sensitively on the excitation mode, but much

less on the coil designs. The agreement is mirrored in

the B

1

maps of the rotating modes (Fig. 4), indicating

that load power deposition is indeed a suitable proxy for

transmit field strength. As opposed to results obtained

for an 8-channel loop array using a quasistatic approach

in a cylindrical phantom (37), we found that the homo-

geneous CP

1

excitation does not exhibit the strongest

power deposition in the load, but rather the next highest

CP

2

, which is very close to the theoretical maximum

load power in the phantom. This difference can be par-

tially attributed to wave effects that are not captured by

the quasistatic calculations, but are mainly due to the

relatively strong radiative losses occurring in the CP

1

mode. In the EP mode, the loop array interacts with the

load almost exclusively via the loop segments resembling

the endrings, resulting in a very low power deposition.

As the stripline array does not have any endring seg-

ments, the power deposition is even lower.

The human model simulations show a stronger power

deposition in the head compared to the spherical phan-

tom, however, the overall qualitative progression depicted

in Figure 5 shows a strong resemblance between the two

load configurations. The CP

2

mode, while still exhibiting

6 Kuehne et al.

the strongest losses of the investigated CP modes, does

not represent the theoretical maximum losses. This is due

to the ellipsoid shape of the head that would require cor-

respondingly varying amplitudes fed into the respective

coil elements to achieve maximum power deposition.

The stripline array displays a strong power deposition

in the body of the Duke model when driven in the EP

mode which is not seen in the loop array, indicating that

the whole body represents a significant load to the stri-

pline elements. This power is not just absorbed in the

shoulders, but distributed throughout the whole body,

underlining the need to model the full extent of the

human body in electromagnetic simulations. A more

thorough discussion of this phenomenon will be given

in the upcoming section on radiated power.

Coupling/Decoupling Losses

For the phantom load configurations, the loop array dis-

plays a superior decoupling behavior compared to the

stripline configuration. However, the losses introduced

by the decoupling structures strongly differ, and it is evi-

dent that the decoupling structure losses for the stripline

array depend strongly on the imposed excitation mode,

whereas the decoupling losses of the loop array show a

much less varying behavior. This is due to the fact that

the decoupling inductances of the loop array simply rep-

resent a series resistance in each coil element, with the

associated losses behaving similar to the other coil series

resistance terms. Conversely, the current in the decou-

pling LC circuits of the striplines is proportional to the

voltage differential across its terminals, which in turn

strongly depends on the neighboring coil voltages and

thus the excitation mode used to drive the array. This

implies corresponding losses, which are in fact partly

responsible for the apparent decoupling performance.

Increased losses in the LC circuit, as could be introduced

by choosing a lower inductance solenoid, would further

increase the channel isolation in terms of smaller off-

Table 1

Relative Contributions of the Investigated Loss Mechanisms for All Array/Load Configurations and Selected Excitation Modes.

Excitation mode Extrema

Losses ([%)] CP

1

CP

2

CP

3

CP

4

EP Max. Min.

Loop Phantom Phantom 53.92 66.37 41.69 24.01 19.36 66.80 19.36

Plastic 7.33 7.62 13.83 17.71 13.73 17.78 7.31

Metal 1.91 2.09 3.81 4.89 3.28 4.95 1.89

Coupling 0.98 2.06 2.99 5.94 25.23 25.30 0.96

Capacitors 14.48 15.45 27.50 35.05 25.63 35.05 14.47

Dec. Inductors 6.84 6.40 10.18 12.40 12.76 12.80 6.38

Radiated 14.53 0.00 0.01 0.00 0.00 14.55 0.00

Error 0.015 0.002 0.001 0.002 0.007 0.018 0.001

Stripline Phantom Phantom 49.41 63.62 36.81 22.43 1.43 63.77 1.43

PTFE 1.47 1.17 1.65 1.86 0.01 1.86 0.01

Metal 10.49 8.26 11.47 12.81 0.11 12.96 0.11

Coupling 2.01 0.71 2.88 5.53 79.84 79.85 0.67

Capacitors 18.13 14.20 19.45 21.65 0.27 21.65 0.26

Dec. LCs 4.47 12.04 27.75 35.73 0.00 35.75 0.00

Radiated 14.03 0.01 0.00 0.00 18.32 18.34 0.00

Error 0.005 0.010 0.013 0.011 0.014 0.088 0.008

Loop Duke Head 59.15 64.93 42.28 27.50 26.42 75.99 16.99

Body 4.30 1.94 0.42 0.17 2.29 4.99 0.03

Plastic 5.84 6.28 12.86 15.55 12.90 17.69 4.65

Metal 1.55 1.75 3.61 4.39 3.18 5.10 1.14

Coupling 4.14 6.65 5.37 10.44 18.35 20.89 1.19

Capacitors 11.75 12.90 26.03 31.31 24.70 35.86 9.11

Dec. Inductors 5.41 5.15 9.24 10.63 12.03 12.56 3.67

Radiated 7.84 0.39 0.18 0.02 0.14 9.38 0.00

Error 0.005 0.000 0.001 0.005 0.001 0.021 0.001

Stripline Duke Head 60.30 65.51 39.04 26.19 13.64 76.78 13.14

Body 7.73 0.76 0.40 0.12 56.07 56.29 0.02

PTFE 1.09 1.04 1.60 1.80 0.78 2.11 0.60

Metal 7.80 7.36 11.14 12.49 5.56 14.90 4.06

Coupling 1.35 1.68 2.04 3.76 5.03 5.48 0.10

Coil Caps 13.52 12.58 18.85 21.08 9.69 24.57 7.39

Dec. LCs 3.35 11.02 26.86 34.54 0.03 38.79 0.00

Radiated 4.88 0.07 0.10 0.03 9.21 10.81 0.00

Error 0.011 0.016 0.029 0.029 0.003 0.111 0.002

Additionally, the power imbalance is shown in the Error row. In the last two columns, the theoretical limits for any arbitrary driv-

ing vector v as given by the minimum and maximum Eigenvalues of the corresponding loss matrices are given. Power deposition

in the simulations involving the human model have been split into head and body power, with the neck being included in the head

volume.

Transmit Array Loss Analysis 7

diagonal elements of the scattering matrix, however, at

the cost of higher losses in the decoupling structure and

reduced coil performance. This observation challenges

the common assumption of low coupling being equiva-

lent to high coil efficiency. It rather highlights the need

to carefully evaluate and compare losses introduced into

the array by the various decoupling structures available.

Both arrays show strong coupling losses in the EP mode,

which is explained by the previously mentioned weak

interaction with the coil load in this mode. For the stri-

plines, this leads to the majority of the input power

being reflected and thus lost due to coupling.

Using the Duke model, the loop array shows a small

increase in coil element coupling, however, no significant

qualitative changes for coupling and decoupling loss dis-

tributions can be observed. This behavior is contrasted by

the stripline array showing marked differences close to the

EP mode. The strong reflection and accompanying reduc-

tion of all dissipative loss terms (metal, substrate, capaci-

tors) is replaced by the dominating power deposition in

the body and intrinsic resistive coil losses comparable to

other driving modes. This suggests that only the body of

the Duke model represents a significant load to the array

in this mode, which allows electromagnetic energy to

propagate along the coil elements and into the body,

which is not possible for the phantom load and thus

explains the lack of power deposition.

Radiative Losses

The radiated power component of the CP

1

mode is sim-

ilar to previously published results for both arrays when

loaded with the spherical phantom. A similarly sized

and loaded free-standing transverse electromagnetic

coil (18) radiates 18% of the input power as compared to

approximately 14% in our investigation, which included

the bore and gradient shield, and thus partially mitigated

radiation losses in comparison. Similarly, we found that

simulations including the full human body exhibited

lower radiative losses. A part of the power being radiated

in phantom experiments is absorbed in the body outside

the head when the coil is loaded with a human as can

be seen from Table 1, where strong radiative losses in

phantom simulations correspond to a relatively higher

power deposition in the body. The radiative losses can

be understood in terms of the coil arrays coupling to

waveguide modes supported by the bore and gradient

shield (17). Separating the CP

1

mode into its two

orthogonal linear constituents, it can be seen that each of

the linear modes excites a TE11 mode in the gradient

shield and bore, which explains the relatively strong

radiative loss of the homogeneous mode.

When driven in the EP mode, the phantom-loaded stri-

pline array radiates 18% of the forward power, which is

lowered to 9% with a human load. Simultaneously, this

comes with the already mentioned 56% power deposi-

tion in the body. The radiation and power deposition in

the body again indicate a traveling wave. Using the EP

excitation, the stripline-array couples to the TM01 mode,

which can be supported by the bore but not by the

empty gradient shield. When loaded with the phantom,

coil fields extending out of the gradient shield excite a

dampened TM01 mode leading to the observed 18%

radiation. With a human load, the TM01 mode can prop-

agate inside the gradient shield and body as well, lead-

ing to the strong power deposition throughout the whole

model. Conventional coils coupling to traveling wave

modes have been previously observed (17,50), and our

findings further underline the necessity to exactly model

not only the coil and patient geometries, but the sur-

rounding structures as well. Furthermore, these results

suggest that the cylindrical RF shields commonly used

to minimize radiative losses are insufficient at suppress-

ing power coupling into waveguide modes, and addi-

tional shielding structures should be considered.

To aid an intuitive understanding of the radiative and

traveling wave phenomena, a visualization of the arrays

behavior under different driving conditions and loads is

FIG. 4. Simulated B

1

maps of

the counterclockwise rotating

(CP) and equal phase (EP)

modes for all investigated coil

array and load configurations. All

images are scaled to 1 kW for-

ward power. The enhancement

occurring in the occipital part of

the head for the stripline array

can be attributed to the close

proximity of the conductor seg-

ments being positioned on the

inside of the former annulus.

[Color figure can be viewed in

the online issue, which is avail-

able at wileyonlinelibrary.com.]

8 Kuehne et al.

provided as a supporting video animation (Supporting

Information Video V1).

Metal Losses

The metal conductor losses of approximately 2% for the

loop array and 8% for the stripline array when driven in

the CP

1

mode are larger than those reported by Liu et al.

(18) of less than 0.1% for a high-pass birdcage, where the

difficulty of metallic loss modeling in FDTD was already

acknowledged. Despite the use of the good conductor

approximation, the losses reported in our work may still

have a large associated uncertainty. Especially, the cor-

rect approximation of lateral skin effect contributions

(51) in copper strip conductors is questionable, as the

copper loss models utilized only consider the classical

skin effect and neglect the discontinuities appearing at

the conductor boundaries. Initial investigations have

shown that the deviation from theoretical loss expecta-

tions strongly varies with the conductor geometry, com-

putational mesh, and even software package used for the

simulation (52). For flat conductors with a rectangular

cross section, the losses were found to be generally

underestimated by a factor of approximately 23 at 128

MHz for conductor widths and mesh resolutions used in

our loop array simulations. As the effect increases with

frequency, these values represent a lower limit for the

error. As the relative contribution of the lateral skin effect

decreases with increasing conductor width due to a

smaller current distribution curvature at the conductor

boundaries, the stripline array simulation is expected to

be less affected. However, further research is required to

exactly quantify these errors. Instead of relying on the

results from three-dimensional (3D)-electromagnetic sim-

ulations, it may be advantageous to model coil conduc-

tors as perfectly conducting in the 3D simulation, and

introduce losses as lumped resistors derived from analyti-

cal considerations or measurements for the given conduc-

tor geometry and coil size, as the latter approach has

been shown to provide accurate estimates for intrinsic

coil losses (44) in receive arrays. Power deposition occur-

ring in the shield and bore structures is not affected by

these computational difficulties, however, they only play

a very minor role and the results are strongly dominated

by the coil conductor losses.

The higher metal losses in the stripline array seem coun-

terintuitive at first glance, as the conductor widths of the

loop array are smaller and the resistivity is consequently

higher. This discrepancy can be partially explained by the

aforementioned loss underestimation occurring in narrow

flat conductors, which impacts metal losses in the loop

array copper traces more strongly than the wider stripline

conductors. Additionally, metal losses constitute a higher

fraction of a striplines intrinsic coil losses as compared to

a loop. The loop losses are dominated by the relatively

FIG. 5. Power balance distribution

for all simulated configurations

with varying nearest neighbor

phase increments and equal

amplitudes for all channels. The

positions of the Birdcage (CP)

modes are marked, a 0

phase

difference corresponds to an

equal phase drive (EP). The

parameter space between 180

and 360

the clockwise rotating modes, dis-

plays an exactly mirrored behavior

for the phantom simulations, and

only minor deviations from the mir-

rored progression for the Duke

simulations. This is due to the

(approximate) cylindrical symmetry

of the setup and the resultingly

degenerate Eigenmodes.

Transmit Array Loss Analysis 9

high number of capacitors and accompanying solder joints,

followed by inductor and former substrate losses. The use

of lower loss substrate, fewer solder joints, and parallel

capacitors (44) lead to a relatively higher impact of metal

conductor losses in the stripline array.

Substrate Losses

Losses in the coil former are significantly higher for the

loop array. This is due to the loop arrays plastic former

having a dissipation factor almost two orders of magnitude

above the PTFE former of the stripline array. The strong

FIG. 6. Simulated transmit SENSE pulse power balances for selective excitation patterns with a 20

forward power. For each transmit array, three different use cases were investigated: a checkerboard excitation in the spherical phantom

(top), a homogeneous slice excitation of the same phantom (middle) and a homogeneous slice excitation in the Duke model (bottom).

The averaged power balance contributions are given in parentheses in the legends, and the simulated excitation patterns are shown in

the top right corners. Comparing both arrays reveals that while the individual power loss contributions significantly vary, the absolute

power deposited in the phantom/head is almost identical for the same excitation pattern. This indicates a highly similar array behavior

in parallel excitation performance with respect to global SAR. [Color figure can be viewed in the online issue, which is available at

wileyonlinelibrary.com.]

10 Kuehne et al.

electric fields inside the stripline substrate partially offset

this advantage, and prevent the use of plastic or other rela-

tively high loss materials as former materials, as the coil

performance would be severely degraded by the substrate

losses. However, it becomes evident that the loop array

would benefit from a lower loss substrate as well.

Transmit SENSE

Comparing the power balance for the checkerboard and

homogeneous excitation patterns in the phantom using

the same coil (Fig. 6), it becomes evident that up to about

2.1 ms, i.e., for more than 85% of the pulse duration, the

individual loss terms vary within relatively narrow bands

around their average value. In between the two pulses,

these average values differ, albeit not dramatically. Only

for the last 0.3 ms, corresponding to central k-space exci-

tation, this behavior changes: in both pulses the high-

frequency fluctuations of the loss distribution disappear

and all terms approach stable values, possibly well out-

side their previous variation bands. In the phantom, these

final values are almost identical for both pulses; they are

characterized by a relative increase in phantom power as

well as radiated power, with a simultaneous decrease in

the remaining loss terms. The similarity in the late seg-

ments of the transmit SENSE pulses can be attributed to

the fact that central k-space excitation requires a relatively

even B

1

distribution, which is reached by driving vectors

similar to the CP

1

mode. Although the individual aver-

ages of the loss contributions vary between the two arrays,

this qualitative behavior is evident in both configurations.

The simulations involving the human model show a

stronger fluctuation, owing to the reduced symmetry and

more complex field distributions in the human body.

Further Applications

Besides the applications shown, power correlation matri-

ces can be utilized to adjust SAR values to account for

the radiated power component occurring in simulations,

which is important for scenarios relying on 3D electro-

magnetic simulations for safety assessment (32). For

whole-body SAR calculations, the sum of the tissue loss

and radiated power matrices would provide a conserva-

tive estimate of power deposited in the body. Similarly,

local SAR for any arbitrary excitation could be scaled by

a factor (P

rad

P

mat

)=P

mat

, which can be easily calculated

using the power correlation matrices.

Furthermore, power dissipation in sensitive compo-

nents can be tracked for arbitrary pulses, thus helping to

prevent equipment damage and remain within the coils

operating specifications. Similar to power and SAR con-

straints, these hardware limits could be directly enforced

inside parallel transmit pulse calculation algorithms (53).

Finally, owing to the strong parallels between power

deposition during transmission and noise during recep-

tion via the fluctuation-dissipation theorem (54), the pre-

sented formalism could be as well applied to receive coil

arrays to investigate array noise contributions.

CONCLUSION

Electromagnetic losses in multichannel transmit coil arrays

depend on the amplitudes and phases used to drive each

individual channel. We have derived a framework of

power correlation matrices that provides straightforward

access to the power balance and all loss terms for arbitrary

array excitations using simple matrix calculations. Worst

case power imbalance estimates enable a straight-forward

plausibility check for electromagnetic simulations of arbi-

trary complexity; and an upper limit on the imbalance

could be used as one criterion for safety-relevant simula-

tions. Loss contributions have been shown to vary signifi-

cantly between different excitations, allowing a deeper

insight into loss mechanisms than considering a single

mode only. Components and structures exhibiting domi-

nating losses are readily identified, which can assist in

developing informed decisions on coil array component

and material choice. The complexity of loss mechanism

interplay as evidenced here highlights the need for meticu-

lous loss modeling to capture all power deposition phe-

nomena. Inclusion of all losses leads to more accurate

predictions of transmit array coil performance and SAR

behavior, and the methods presented will assist in design-

ing more efficient and safe transmit coil arrays.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The funding sources had no influence on the scientific

scope nor the outcome of this study.

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SUPPORTING INFORMATION

Additional Supporting Information may be found in the online

version of this article.

Supporting Video S1: Animation of the propagating transverse

electromagnetic elds due to different excitation modes for both

coil arrays and loads.

12 Kuehne et al.

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