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BIAC MRI Scanners

BIAC’s major instruments include a 3.0 Tesla GE EXCITE HD whole-body 60 cm bore human scanner, a 3.0 Tesla (T) GE MR750 whole-body 60 cm bore human scanner, a 7.0 Tesla Bruker BioSpec 33 cm bore animal scanner, and mock scanner facilities.

GE EXCITE HD 3T Scanner (BIAC3 - Retired 9/6/2012)

The 3.0 T GE EXCITE HD scanner is a short bore magnet that uses an actively shielded magnet design to restrict fringe magnetic fields. This scanner is equipped with high-power 40 mT/m gradients at 150 T/m/s slew rate that enables single-shot echo-planar and spiral imaging at 64 x 64 and 128 x 128 matrices. The scanner uses a twin-gradient system, providing a 2.2 G/cm gradient for high-linearity imaging in body or large field of view (FOV) scans and a 4 G/cm gradient for a high-slew rate in fast imaging. The scanner also contains a parallel imaging infrastructure with an 8-channel head coil, with the option to upgrade to 16 channels.

The current software platform is 12xM4 (2/10/2010).

GE MR750 3T Scanner (BIAC5 & BIAC6)

The 3.0 T GE MR750 scanner uses an actively shielded magnet design to restrict fringe magnetic fields. This scanner is equipped with a 32-channel parallel receiving architecture (expandable to 128 channels), an 8-channel head coil, 32-channel head coil, and a 16-Channel Head/Neck/Spine Array. The scanner is equipped with a high-powered gradient system that has a maximum strength of 50 mT/m, at a slew rate of 200 T/m/s.

The dimensions of the 8 channel head coil are 24cm Width x 27cm Length (9.4 inches x 10.6 inches), approximate circumference: 75cm (29.5 inches). The dimensions of the 32 channel head coil are 24cm Width x 19cm Length (9.4 inches x 7.5 inches), approximate circumference: 75cm (29.5 inches). The Bore is 60 cm in diameter.

Details about the fringe field can be found in this document: :biac:mr750_fringefield3t.pdf . Actual measurements of the fringe field on 10/14/2009 were as follows: 5 gauss line 4 inches toward the magnet from the window. The field at the projector is 8 gauss; the field at the corner of the cabinet closest to the magnet is 25 gauss, and the field at the end of the table is 15 gauss.

The current software platform on BIAC5 is 23x (12/1/13). The current software platform on BIAC6 is 23x (3/6/13).

Bruker 7T Scanner

The 7.0 T animal scanner was delivered in March 2006 and occupies a newly renovated 1500 sq-ft suite. It is equipped with a 33 cm high-power gradient system at 250 mT/m strength necessary for high-resolution imaging. Similar to our human scanners, it comes with parallel imaging capability through four channels (upgradeable to eight). Also, high-order shimming controls are used to ensure a homogeneous magnetic field. In addition, it has two broadband transmission channels and proton de-coupler for multi-nuclei MR spectroscopy scans. The scanner is controlled by a Linux workstation, which is connected via a high-speed network interface.

Mock Scanner

To acclimate patients to the MRI scanner experience, BIAC constructed an MRI simulator system using a decommissioned GE scanner. The system includes a mock MRI scanner, a mirrored glasses system for visual stimulus presentation, auditory presentation capabilities, a data recording system, a head-movement monitoring system, and two control computers. The MRI simulator looks, sounds, and feels just like a real MRI scanner. This system is used to introduce participants to the identical experimental procedures that they will experience in the actual scanner, and to train children to participate in functional neuroimaging studies. This facility helps ensure participant comfort and data quality.


The BIAC has installed two Whisperroom sound-attenuating chambers ( These rooms are equipped with networked computers and 8 channel button boxes, identical to those used at the scanner. They are ideal for testing experimental paradigms and conducting behavioral studies. As they are located in close proximity to our MRI scanners, they are also often used for pre-scan training and post-scan testing.

Quality Assurance (QA)

BIAC routinely collects quality assurance data using AGAR phantoms on both 3T scanners. The goal is to collect this data on each scanner daily. At a minimum, it should be collected a few times per week. This data allows us to evaluate the scanners SNR and SFNR values, which in turn allow us to closely monitor scanner performance and quickly identify and diagnose problems. QA analysis tools also provide figures of merit for the mean signal, standard deviations, and signal stability in the X, Y, and Z planes. The QA tools BIAC has implemented with the support of the fBIRN are described (and can be downloaded) here:

In addition to BIAC's QA procedures, GE also runs a quality control program every month called ibis. This program monitors, and adjusts if necessary X, Y, and Z gradient shimming (LVshim). The GE system performance tests checks and logs stability and SNR data on the scanner, which can be recalled from the scanner's service browser. These procedures also test for coherent noise and eddy current problems.

Finally, for every scanning session, BIAC collects data on the SNR, SFNR, standard deviation, drift, mean signal, first time point of data (t1), and provides plots of signal stability in the X, Y , and Z planes (plot). These data are available to investigators immediately after the data has been collected and reconstructed. These can be found by logging into the BIAC Exam Tracker here: or here:


BIAC's new Linux cluster has 51 nodes with a total of 456 Intel Xeon processor cores and 1.75 TB of memory. The cluster is based on Scientific Linux 6.4 and is running the Sun Grid Engine for job scheduling. BIAC maintains a large library of commercial and custom software for functional and structural MRI analysis, for the analysis of MR spectroscopy data, and for fiber tractography from DTIs. Available processing and analysis software include current releases of FSL, freesurfer, matlab (with: BIAC's matlab tools, spm8, ArtRepair), support vector libraries (liblinear, libsvm) , python tools (python-mvpa, numpy, ipython, pynifti), afni, dicom-toolkit. A full list of software can be seen at the cluster packages page.

Centralized data storage is provided by a BlueArc Titan 2500 enterprise-class storage server with Fibre Channel disk arrays and dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections. The Titan is supplemented by several HP ProLiant and Western Scientific FusionSA servers. Total storage capacity is 120 TB. Automated processes move the image data directly from the scanners and organize the data into a hierarchy on the storage servers. For archiving and backing up data, BIAC has a Qualstar RLS-4470 tape robot equipped with dual AIT-5 drives, 70 slots, and 28 TB native capacity. The central computation and storage systems can be accessed from the campus network, or from two data analysis laboratories located within the BIAC and available to all users.

biac/scanners.txt · Last modified: 2014/08/04 12:03 (external edit)