Design of multi-channel radio-frequency front-end for 200mhz parallel magnetic resonance imaging



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The increasing demands for improving magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) quality, especially reducing the imaging time have been driving the channel number of parallel magnetic resonance imaging (Parallel MRI) to increase. When the channel number increases to 64 or even 128, the traditional method of stacking the same number of radio-frequency (RF) receivers with very low level of integration becomes expensive and cumbersome. However, the cost, size, power consumption of the Parallel MRI receivers can be dramatically reduced by designing a whole receiver front-end even multiple receiver front-ends on a single chip using CMOS technology, and multiplexing the output signal of each receiver front-end into one channel so that as much hardware resource can be shared by as many channels as possible, especially the digitizer. The main object of this research is focused on the analysis and design of fully integrated multi-channel RF receiver and multiplexing technology. First, different architectures of RF receiver and different multiplexing method are analyzed. After comparing the advantages and the disadvantages of these architectures, an architecture of receiver front-end which is most suitable for fully on-chip multi-channel design is proposed and a multiplexing method is selected. According to this proposed architecture, a four-channel receiver front-end was designed and fabricated using TSMC 0.18?m technology on a single chip and methods of testing in the MRI system using parallel planar coil array and phase coil array respectively as target coils were presented. Each channel of the receiver front-end includes an ultra low noise amplifier (LNA), a quadrature image rejection down-converter, a buffer, and a low-pass filter (LPF) which also acts as a variable gain amplifier (VGA). The quadrature image rejection downconverter consists of a quadrature generator, a passive mixer with a transimpedance amplifier which converts the output current signal of the passive mixer into voltage signal while acts as a LPF, and a polyphase filter after the TIA. The receiver has an over NF of 0.935dB, variable gain from about 80dB to 90dB, power consumption of 30.8mW, and chip area of 6mm2. Next, a prototype of 4-channel RF receiver with Time Domain Multiplexing (TDM) on a single printed circuit board (PCB) was designed and bench-tested. Then Parallel MRI experiment was carried out and images were acquired using this prototype. The testing results verify the proposed concepts.



RF Front-End, Parallel MRI