As part of the project, GE researchers are developing a cryogen-free magnet that would considerably reduce the costs and siting requirements.

The principal objective of the program is to develop technologies that enable low-cost whole-body MRI systems that are easier to site and maintain the highest degree of image quality.

With the development of the proposed magnet technologies, MRI systems can be realised with cost and sitability requirements comparable to low-cost permanent magnet systems, but with a high magnetic field and increased image quality comparable to existing mainstream and premium superconducting systems, said the company.

Minfeng Xu, principal investigator on the MRI magnet project of GE Global Research, said: “The use of cryogenic liquids limits where MRI systems can be placed, and we want to change that so more people around the world can have access to this vital diagnostic imaging technology.

“By developing a cryogen-free magnet, we can reduce the overall size, cost and siting requirements of new MRI systems and make them easier to site in areas where the infrastructure is not as well-developed.”