Scientists from ITMO University in St. Petersburg, Russia, collaborating with colleagues in Australia and the Netherlands, have shown that metamaterials—synthetic composites with particular electromagnetic properties—can improve the quality of “ordinary” MR imaging while cutting scan time.
The technique works by increasing the signal-to-noise ratio in the scanned area while suppressing the electric field that can heat tissue and compromise safety, according to a press release from the school.
“Our metamaterial can be embedded directly into the patient table of any commercially available MRI scanner,” says Alexey Slobozhanyuk, first author of the study behind the work, which has been published in the journal Advanced Materials.
“However, in the future we see even more potential in the concept of special smart clothing for MRI scanning.”
Slobozhanyuk adds that scans of patients wearing these metamaterial garments would produce higher-resolution MR images, “while the special design will enable a homogeneous enhancement of the signal-to-noise ratio, which does not pose any risk to the patient’s health.”