Metamaterial markedly boosts MRI performance


Science Highlights
September 20, 2019
Patricia Wiley

A metamaterial made of plastic and copper developed by an NIBIB-funded team at Boston University may be able to enhance the quality (signal-to-noise ratio) of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) by four times. The advance also predicted the new metamaterial may produce the high-quality images using lower-field MRI—the type routinely used in clinics—almost 14 times faster than current technology.

“The arrangement of this metamaterial is truly groundbreaking and innovative. Researchers have been trying to make use of metamaterials in MRI for a decade and now have achieved a substantial improvement in image quality for the first time,” said Shumin Wang, Ph.D., director of the NIBIB program in Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Once tested for clinical use, the metamaterial may make MRI technology less costly and more accessible globally.  

The research was supported, in part, by a grant from NIBIB (R21EB024673).

Duan, Guangwu, et al. “Boosting Magnetic Resonance Imaging Signal-to-Noise Ratio Using Magnetic Metamaterials.” Communications Physics 2:35. Mar. 26, 2019.