Improving SNR of RF coils using composite coil elements

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A composite coil element consists of up to three independent orthogonal loops. It improves the flexibility in shaping the radio frequency (RF) field in its vicinity, compared with a single-loop coil element. Computer simulations were conducted to explore the potential advantages of this type of coil configuration for improving the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), including the intrinsic SNR (ISNR) and the realistic SNR, when the effects of resistive loss of the coil were included. A 'half-space' model was considered, with a variable B0direction relative to the surface of a large conductive medium. The SNR performance of a square single-loop coil parallel to the surface of the medium was compared with that of a composite coil element where up to two additional orthogonal square loops of the same size were added to the single coil loop. The SNR performances of coil arrays consisting of single-loop elements and composite elements were also evaluated. The RF field was calculated using the finite-difference time-domain method. The results show that the composite coil element has a substantially better ISNR at all depths from the surface than that of a single-loop element covering the same surface area. Furthermore, the ISNR of a composite element is not sensitive to the surface orientation relative to the B0field. The computer simulation also revealed that at 128 MHz, the resistive loss from the copper coil loops standing upright on the surface at room temperature is substantial compared to the loss in the medium. Consequently, the realistic SNR is significantly lower than ISNR at 128MHz for a composite coil element. The coil loading by the medium becomes more dominant at 170 and 298 MHz, and the differences between the realistic SNR and ISNR become smaller at these higher frequencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)952-959
Number of pages8
JournalNMR in biomedicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • Array coil
  • Complete array
  • Composite coil element
  • Magnetic resonance
  • RF coil
  • Signal-to-noise ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy


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