Cheap, portable MRI

Researchers with the Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory have developed a laser-driven MRI that greatly reduces the size and cost of providing MRI testing.

The alternative MRI technology being developed by Pines, Xu, Budker and their colleagues is also highly sensitive to low-field magnetic signals but offers the enormous advantage of being operable at room temperatures.

Said Xu, "Our technique has comparable sensitivity with SQUIDs, but the fact that it does not require superconducting magnets or cryogenics significantly reduces the cost and maintenance of the apparatus, and opens the technology up to a broader range of applications. Furthermore, our technique has simple electronics that can be easily integrated into detector arrays."

A beam of laser light pumps the atoms so that their spins are polarized, then probes the polarized atoms for an MRI signal.

According to Budker, their alternative MRI technology would cost only a few thousand dollars to implement.

Continue reading Cheap, portable MRI