Design of multi-row multi-channel degenerate birdcage array coil based on minimum total reflection for the single-channel and circularly polarized modes of excitation
Ehsan Kazemivalipour1,2, Alireza Sadeghi-Tarakameh1,2, Umut Gundogdu2, and Ergin Atalar1,2

1Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey, 2National Magnetic Resonance Research Center (UMRAM), Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey


We propose that a transmit coil can be optimized for certain modes of operation. It is well-known that when the number of channels of a degenerate birdcage coil increases coupling between channels becomes a significant problem. The high total reflection when only one of its channels is used as a transmitter caused a small portion of the power delivered to the body. However, when it is properly designed, in some modes of operations such as circularly-polarized mode, the total reflection become negligibly small. In this work, we demonstrate this effect on various two-row degenerate birdcage-coils together with simulations and experiments.


Transmit array (TxArray) coils are being widely investigated for ultra-high field systems in order to obtain a homogeneous excitation. These coils can be also very useful for the conventional scanners since, without any increase in the cost, they will provide degrees of freedom to the designer of pulse sequencer. This freedom may be used, for example, to increase the power efficiency1-3 or to implement implant-friendly mode4 in a very efficient way.

In TxArrays, however, the coupling between channels is a significant problem. This problem gets more difficult to solve as the number of channels increases5. It should be noted that the power efficiency of the TxArray coil is a function of the phase and amplitude of the input power. The reflected power can be written as $$$P_{reflected}=\frac{1}{2}\frac{|V^{-}|^{2}}{Z_{0}}$$$ where $$$V^{-}$$$ denotes the reflected voltage vector given in the phasor form. $$$V^{-}$$$ can be written as $$$V^{-}={\bf{S}}V^{+}$$$ where $$$\bf{S}$$$ denotes the scattering matrix and $$$V^{+}$$$ denotes the incident voltage. As can be noted in this formulation, in order to obtain zero reflection for all incident voltages, $$$\bf{S}$$$ has to be zero. However, for a non-zero $$$\bf{S}$$$-matrix, zero reflected power can still be obtained for certain input voltages.

In this study, we claim that is possible to design an array coil such that its total reflected power is zero or low in some important modes of operation. For this purpose, we designed a double-row degenerate birdcage coil that operated in the circularly-polarized (CP) mode with very low reflection while its single-channel (SC) operation mode has an acceptable reflection level. Note that if the degenerate birdcage coil is used in the CP mode, its excitation profile will be similar to the profile of a conventional birdcage coil6-9.


We simulated 4 shielded degenerate birdcage head TxArrays with varying number of channels and the same overall dimensions loaded with a uniform cylindrical phantom shown in Fig.1. Transmit loops distributed in both the circumferential and the z-direction and could be decoupled by adjustment of decoupling capacitors placed between nearest neighbors. Exciting both rows separately in the CP mode, while the currents of the upper and lower rows cancel each other in their mutual ring segment, provides the ability of the CP mode excitation by this type of TxArrays same as conventional birdcage coils6-9.

Fig.2 depicts an arbitrary N-port microwave network. The normalized-TR for the nth port of this network, when the characteristic impedance is real, can be defined as10:


By adjusting capacitor values, S-matrix can be optimized to minimize the TR value such that CP mode of operation is obtained with very low reflection. The optimization problem is a non-convex problem and it also gives us the opportunity to minimize the TR in additional modes of operations as well. For this, we chose the SC mode. In this mode, the TR can be expressed as $$$\sum_{n=1}^N|S_{mn}|^{2}$$$. To evaluate the performance of this idea, the coils capacitors are found using the co-simulation strategy11 with the criteria to minimize TR in both CP and SC modes.

Results and discussion

We assessed the performance of the TxArrays at 123.2MHz shown in Fig.3 in the SC mode and two different CP modes. In CP1 mode, both rows individually excited with identical power and linearly increasing phase, whereas the lower-row channels excited with a 180° phase shift relative to axially adjacent upper-row channels, while in the CP2 mode, both rows are in the same phase. In both CP1 and CP2 modes, TR is less than 1% for all coils. In the SC mode of operation, however, the TR increases with the increased number of channels.

Fig.4 shows the surface current density on 2x4-channels DBC, and the B1+-maps inside of the phantom for the SC, CP1, and CP2 modes. As it is obvious, the current on the TxArray’s middle-ring is almost zero in the CP1 mode which provides the possibility of having a uniform B1+-profile in the iso-center. Additionally, for the CP2 mode, the B1+-field is almost zero in the central slice while the profiles in the other slices are homogeneous which make this coil to use for some safety applications and multi-slice imaging.

As proof of the method, the structure of 2×4-channels TxArray constructed (Fig.5(a)). The reflection coefficient, maximum coupling, TR, B1+-profile of each individual channel, and GRE images of the CP1 and CP2 modes are shown in Fig.5(b-d).


Here we introduced a methodology for designing of DBC based on minimization of the TR for certain modes of operations. Our simulations show that although the coupling ratio is rising with increasing the number of channels, the TR remains very low and the power TxArray efficiencies high in the CP modes.


No acknowledgement found.


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Figure 1 – EM simulation models of 4 TxArrays loaded by a cylindrical phantom (diameter of 80mm, a length of 350mm, a conductivity of 0.6s/m, and relative permittivity of 80). All TxArrays had the same overall dimensions (diameter of 315mm, length of 270mm, shield diameter of 408.9mm, and shield length of 420mm). All rings and legs were 15mm wide copper strips. Each loop was broken by 1 matching, 2 tuning, and 2 decoupling capacitors in the circumferential direction and 2 decoupling capacitors in the z-direction placed along its circumference. 2 series capacitors in the input port are used for matching improvement.

Figure 2 – An arbitrary N-port microwave network where $$$V_n^+$$$ and $$$V_n^-$$$ are defined as equivalent voltages for the incident and reflected waves, respectively10. At the terminal plane, the total voltage of the nth port is given by $$$V_{n}={V_n^+}+{V_n^-}$$$. The vector of reflected ($$$V^{-}$$$) voltages can be obtained by multiplying $$$\bf{S}$$$-matrix by the vector of incident ($$$V^{+}$$$) voltages as $$$V^{-}={\bf{S}}V^{+}$$$.

Figure 3 – (a) Analysis performance of TxArrays in terms of TR, reflection coefficient, maximum coupling, power delivered to the load, and TxArray efficiency as performance metrics within three different transverse planes (b) in the load for SC, CP1, and CP2 modes. Although the TR in SC mode is rising with increasing the number of channels, the TR and TxArray efficiency in the CP1 and CP2 modes remain constant. As the number of channels increased, the coupling will increase in the SC mode but the $$$Tx_{eff-max}$$$ and $$${P_{load}}\diagup{P_{incident}}$$$ for the CP1 and CP2 modes remained constant.

Figure 4 – The surface current density on the 2×4-channels TxArray, and the $$$B_1^+$$$-maps in three transverse slices inside of the load for the SC, CP1, and CP2 modes. The results obtained for a constant total incident power of 20mW for all structures.

Figure 5 – (a) An overview of the 2×4-channels TxArray. (b) Measured and simulated S11, maximum coupling, and normalized-TR for the SC, CP1, and CP2 modes. (c) $$$B_1^+$$$-maps of each individual channel and (d) GRE image of the CP1 and CP2 modes in 3 slices. All experiments were conducted using a 3T scanner (Magnetom Trio A Tim, Siemens Medical Solutions, Erlangen, Germany) with a body-matrix coil for signal reception and a sodium-nickel solution phantom (USA Instruments INC, Ohio, USA) with a diameter of 160mm. Because of hardware limitations, the shield is made of 12 rectangular copper strips of size 105.5×420mm2.

Proc. Intl. Soc. Mag. Reson. Med. 27 (2019)