The imaging facility at Porter currently is currently in the process of installing high field small animal MRI system, Agilent 11.7T MRI.
MRI exploits the nuclear magnetic alignments of different atoms inside a magnetic field to generate images. MRI machines consist of large magnets that generate magnetic fields around the target. A radiofrequency (RF) coils inside the MRI generates radio pulse of particular frequency that cause paramagnetic atoms such as hydrogen, gadolinium, and manganese to align in a magnetic dipole along the magnetic fields. When the RF pulse is temporarily ceased the atoms return to original aligned state (a process called “relaxation”), emitting a detectable radiofrequency signal that is captured by the MRI system. With this data (referred to as T1 and T2 relaxation), a computer will generate an image of the subject based on the resonance characteristics of different tissue types. Differences of T1 and T2 are inherent properties of tissue and they vary among tissues. Thus, MRI provides detailed functional information about tissue and can be valuable for in vivo imaging providing high tissue contract. With high magnetic field and flux radiofrequency waves, MRI can also give high spatial resolution. MRI can be used in a wide variety of applications, including anatomical, functional, and molecular imaging. Furthermore, since MRI’s mechanism is based on a magnetic field, it is much safer compared to radiation based imaging modalities such as CT and PET.