10 Octobre – Thesis defense - Aimé Labbé

14 h30 Conference room CRMSB - Carreire campus

Development of superconducting antennas based on SQUID arrays for low-field nuclear magnetic resonance.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a modality that offers good contrasts and good spatial resolution, but suffers from a significant sensitivity problem. To address this issue, the current paradigm is to increase the magnetic field of MRI magnets. However, this leads to an explosion of costs and to increased constraints on patients. The approach we present is radically different: it involves working in a weak field. As conventional antennas are not sensitive enough to collect the signal, the idea is to use SQIF. These are a new ultra sensitive superconducting antenna technology based on SQUID networks. The project aims to optimize SQIF technology and adapt it to measure an NMR signal in a 0.2~T magnet.
To do this, we developed and studied the performance of new SQIF antenna architectures in order to define the geometry most suitable for NMR. We also sought to better understand how the context of use of these new antennas could influence their performance. The best performing antennas set had a transfer factor of 8.4~kVperT and a detection threshold of 190~fTperHz. It was also observed that the presence of a magnetic field during the cooling of these superconducting sensors degraded their response, a phenomenon to be accounted for in NMR.
The Super-QIF Demonstrator incorporating a SQIF in the 0.2~T MRI was designed considering the geometric constraints and the magnetic environment. After its assembly, the temperature of the cryostat was 50~K, therefore sufficient for the proper operation of SQIF. The first tests showed that the system presence did not disturb the NMR signal.
The demonstrator is still under development and is expected to measure an NMR signal in the forthcoming months. In the long term, this work paves the way for applications of SQIF in Earth's field MRI.

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