Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a leading non-invasive imaging technique with a rapidly growing impact in modern medical diagnostics. MRI can produce images of most internal organs without exposing a patient to ionising radiation. Due to a small signal to noise ratio (SNR), the MRI acquisition is much slower than other techniques, such as Computed Tomography or ultrasound, and it is comparable to positron emission tomography. For applications such as cartilage imaging or for mapping small vessels and pathologies, image resolution is limited by available SNR level, and often a higher resolution is required to resolve details of clinical interest. Achieving such resolution in a clinical setting is not feasible with existing systems, since it requires a very long image acquisition time.
The major aims of this project is to boost substantially the capabilities of MRI systems currently utilised in hospitals via the incorporation of metamaterials and metasurfaces. These materials are composite structures designed to manipulate electromagnetic fields in an almost arbitrary way. They will be used to reshape the electromagnetic fields inside an MRI scanner, enhancing the image quality without the need to increase the static magnetic field.
Head of the Nonlinear Physics Centre, Prof Kivshar is a participant in the highly prestigious European Horizon 2020 project on this topic