When the first superconducting magnets were used for MRI scanners in the 1980s, they provided magnetic field strengths of 0.15 Tesla. Currently, most MRI scanners in hospitals operate at 1.5 or 3 Tesla, providing substantially improved image quality and detail. However, even stronger “ultra-high field” 7 Tesla (7T) MRI is rapidly establishing itself as a tool for studying the brain in unprecedented detail. The high signal-to-noise ratio at 7T benefits a wide range of MR data acquisition methods. For example, it makes it possible to visualize structures too small to see at lower field strengths or to measure activity in the brain at the level of cortical columns or layers.
The work of the 7T group consists of two types of research: the development of methods to further utilize the potential of the 7T MRI scanner, and the use of the 7T scanner to improving our understanding of the structure and function of both healthy and diseased brains. The combination of researchers with knowledge and expertise in both of those domains facilitates an efficient connection between innovation and application.
The continuous advancement of ultra-high field methods also facilitates increased implementation of 7T MRI in clinical care. Therefore, in addition to developing new 7T MRI methods, our group also aims to facilitate the translation of such novel methods for improved diagnostic care for patients with various neurological conditions.