Varian, Magnet Technology Centre in Oxford, UK, has completed the shielded 7 Tesla whole-body research magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) magnet. Ultra High Field (UHF) MRI at 7T offers unmatched resolution, enabling researchers to visualize exquisite anatomical and functional detail in the human brain or other organs.

The company claims that clinical MRI systems use actively shielded magnets at 1.5 or 3 Tesla. Until now, however, UHF MRI magnets have typically required 400 to 800 tons of surrounding iron to form a magnetic shield.

This amount of iron must be built into the fabric of the building, limiting the number of sites that can accommodate a UHF MRI research system. Extending active shielding technology to 7 Tesla magnets will allow these powerful research instruments to be widely available.

Rory Warner, senior designer of MRI Magnet at Varian, said: “The factory test results were pleasing. The new 7T actively shielded magnet performs as expected. It exhibits all the homogeneity and stability characteristics that we had designed for.”

Martin O’Donoghue, senior vice president of Scientific Instruments at Varian, said: “Varian’s whole-body 7T magnet allows researchers to advance our understanding of human biology with more detailed images. Our active shielding technology makes this powerful tool accessible to a much larger number of scientists and institutions.”