Safety testing and operational procedures for self-developed radiofrequency coils

Jens Hoffmann, Anke Henning, Ioannis A. Giapitzakis, Klaus Scheffler, G. Shajan, Rolf Pohmann, Nikolai I. Avdievich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


The development of novel radiofrequency (RF) coils for human ultrahigh-field (≥7 T), non-proton and body applications is an active field of research in many MR groups. Any RF coil must meet the strict requirements for safe application on humans with respect to mechanical and electrical safety, as well as the specific absorption rate (SAR) limits. For this purpose, regulations such as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard for medical electrical equipment, vendor-suggested test specifications for third party coils and custom-developed test procedures exist. However, for higher frequencies and shorter wavelengths in ultrahigh-field MR, the RF fields may become extremely inhomogeneous in biological tissue and the risk of localized areas with elevated power deposition increases, which is usually not considered by existing safety testing and operational procedures. In addition, important aspects, such as risk analysis and comprehensive electrical performance and safety tests, are often neglected. In this article, we describe the guidelines used in our institution for electrical and mechanical safety tests, SAR simulation and verification, risk analysis and operational procedures, including coil documentation, user training and regular quality assurance testing, which help to recognize and eliminate safety issues during coil design and operation. Although the procedure is generally applicable to all field strengths, specific requirements with regard to SAR-related safety and electrical performance at ultrahigh-field are considered. The protocol describes an internal procedure and does not reflect consensus among a large number of research groups, but rather aims to stimulate further discussion related to minimum coil safety standards. Furthermore, it may help other research groups to establish their own procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1131-1144
Number of pages14
JournalNMR in biomedicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Numerical Simulations
  • RF Safety
  • RF receive coils
  • RF transmit coils
  • SAR
  • Ultrahigh-field

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy


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