Ever since Performance Controls designed the first pulse width modulated (PMW) gradient amplifier for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the early 1990s, the company has been leading the industry with new designs. Other achievements include the first fully digital architecture and the first dedicated software for gradient amplifier commissioning, tuning, troubleshooting and remote diagnostics.
MRI gradient amplifiers provide power to generate the variable (gradient) magnetic field component important in the MRI process. High power, excellent stability, wide bandwidth and low noise levels are critical to achieving clear MRI images and are characteristic of all PCI gradient amplifiers.
PCI gradient amplifiers can be found in healthcare centers around the world. With a wide range of power levels available, PCI gradient amplifiers power MRI systems rated from 0.2 Tesla (T) to 7.0T.
PCI gradient amplifiers are available as 3-axis systems in cabinets complete with power supplies or as single axis amplifiers for configuration into a system by the OEM.
Pre-clinical applications of MRI are used for research of small animals in vivo – in other words, without sacrificing the animal – in addition to human volunteers. Performance Controls designs and manufactures gradient amplifiers to power the gradient coil used for pre-clinical MRI. These systems require even more extreme levels of stability and low noise and are often used in functional MRI (fMRI) studies of the brain and other neurological tissue, wherein minute chemical shifts resulting from neurological activity may be visualized.
For these applications, any PCI single axis gradient amplifier or 3-axis system can be customized to deliver enhanced stability, wide bandwidth and extremely low noise levels. Options exist to reduce both electrical and audible noise levels even further. One example: Fan noise can be eliminated when running below fixed temperatures for environments requiring more quiet.
Custom Medical Research with Magnetic Fields
There is extensive on-going global research into MRI technology to improve image quality, speed and clinical outcomes. Most of these applications have demanding power requirements, and PCI meets the challenge.
In addition, the use of magnetic fields is gaining attention for novel clinical applications, such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). PCI is providing custom power supplies to drive and control the magnets for these new applications.
Particle Beam Therapy
Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) and other beam therapies are delivering exciting results for patients with previously inoperable cancers of the head and neck, and is achieving success in treatment of many other kinds of cancerous and benign tumors. Large magnets are used to steer and focus the beams, and PCI designs and manufactures the power supplies to control these magnets. As a therapeutic modality, reliability is of utmost importance.