Preclinical MRI scanners usually have between 1 and 4 independent receiver channels. However, there are many applications in which a higher number of receiving elements can be interesting, for example when willing to perform some of the following tasks:
In order to achieve these objectives, it is necessary to change from one receiver coil configuration to another, choosing which physical elements of the receive array are active and connected to the scanner in each moment. This procedure allows to activate one imaging area or another without needing to physically move the animal over the coil, and without having to perform any new adjustmente.
Although this technique is very common in human MRI scanners, Neos Biotec is the only manufacturer offering it for preclinical MRI scanners.
Amongst other advantages, variable configuration arrays lead to a better use of the receiver channels of the MRI scanner, an improvement in SNR for each of the different imaging / spectroscopy regions of interest, and a more efficient work flow avoiding a lot of animal repositioning + adjustment tasks.
Example of a variable configuration phased array for mouse imaging (download datasheet):