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Title:
PASSIVE SHIM TRAY FOR MAGNETIC RESONANCE EXAMINATION SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/201379
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A shim tray (10) for a main magnet system of a magnetic resonance examination system comprises a plurality of shim pockets (11), of which an individual shim pocket has side walls (21, 42) forming an open channel (11). Two opposite lateral side walls (21) have insertion profiles (22) to receive an end shim-element (13) at least one open channel's end. Essentially the entire volume of the channel of the shim pocket is available to hold passive shim elements.

Inventors:
FORTHMANN PETER (NL)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2020/059301
Publication Date:
October 08, 2020
Filing Date:
April 01, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
KONINKLIJKE PHILIPS NV (NL)
International Classes:
G01R33/3873
Foreign References:
US20070030004A12007-02-08
CN103576113A2014-02-12
US5999076A1999-12-07
US20130207657A12013-08-15
US20030214300A12003-11-20
US20070030004A12007-02-08
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PHILIPS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY & STANDARDS (NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A shim tray (10) comprising a plurality of shim pockets (11), of which an individual shim pocket has side walls (21,42) forming an open channel (11) and two opposite lateral side walls (21) have insertion profiles (22) configured to receive an end shim-element (13) at least at one open channel's end.

2. A shim tray (10) as claimed in Claim 1,

wherein said shim pockets are arranged in longitudinal direction, wherein the shim pockets are defend by longitudinal side walls extending in longitudinal dirction and by lateral side walls extending in laereal directons,

wherein the two opposite side walls have the insertion profiles configured to receive said end shim-element at least at one end of the shim pocket, such that the end shim- element is inserted into the insertion profiles along the lateral diretion such that the shim pockst is closed at the at least one end.

3. A shim tray (10) as claimed in Claim 1 or 2, wherein the insertion profiles (22) are formed as longitudinal indents in the respective lateral side walls (21).

4. A shim tray as claimed in any one of Claims 1 to 3, wherein at least one of the individual insertion profiles is open at its lateral end.

5. A shim tray as claimed in any one of the preceding Claims, wherein one or more of the shim pockets have said insertion profiles at both ends of its/their channel(s).

6. A shim tray as claimed in anyone of the preceding Claims, wherein the opposite lateral side walls are parallel.

7. A shim tray as claimed in Claim 6, having parallel longitudinal rails (41) to laterally hold shim elements (12), and the longitudinal rails longitudinally connecting the lateral side walls (21) and forming longitudinal opposite side walls (42) of (a multiple of) the shim pockets (11).

8. A shim tray as claimed in any one of the preceding Claims, having lateral side walls extending laterally between the longitudinal rails and the lateral and longitudinal side walls (21,42) delimiting the open channels of the respective shim pockets (11).

9. A shim tray as claimed in any one of the preceding Claims, wherein the end shim element has protrusions (23) that correspond with the insertion profiles (22).

Description:
PASSIVE SHIM TRAY FOR MAGNETIC RESONANCE EXAMINATION SYSTEM

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention pertains to a shim tray for a main magnet system of a magnetic resonance examination system. For spatially resolved imaging or spectroscopy by the magnetic resonance examination system a spatially uniform strong main magnetic field is employed in the magnetic resonance examination system's examination region onto which temporary gradient magnetic field pulses are superposed. The spatially uninform main magnetic field causes a spatially homogeneous magnetic polarisation of the object to be examined (patient to be examined) and the temporary gradient magnetic field pulses provide for spatial encoding of the magnetic resonance signals.

The main magnetic field may have a field strength of 1.5, 3.0, 7.0T or even higher. In order to correct for spatial non-uniformities, so-called ferromagnetic shim elements (iron or steel) are mounted around the magnet bore. Usually a number of shim trays is arranged around the magnet's bore and each shim tray contains a number of shim pockets to hold a number of shim elements. The shim trays may slide longitudinally (along the direction of the main magnetic field) into their proper position so that the shim elements are correctly positioned).

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The US-patent application US2003/0214300 discloses a shim tray that is subdivided into the shim pockets in the axial direction that can be filled with shim laminae of magnetic material according the inhomogeneities of the magnetic field to be corrected. The US patent application US2007/0030004 discloses an MRI scanner with a molding containing shim packs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the invention is to provide a shim tray that has a higher shim capacity as compared to the known shim tray.

This object is achieved by the shim tray comprising a plurality of shim pockets, of which an individual shim pocket has side walls forming an open channel and two opposite lateral side walls have insertion profiles to receive an end shim-element at least one at open channel's end.

According to the invention, open channels form the individual shim pockets. Each of the shim pockets is covered at one or more of its channel ends by the end shim elements. The channels are open in that they may be freely accessible along the axis of the channel from one or both ends. Up to the top and/or bottom cover(s) such an individual channel may be filled with ferromagnetic end shim element(s) and ferromagnetic shim elements.

When the shim solution, i.e. the spatial configuration of shim elements to be mounted around the bore, does not require a pocket to be filled completely, magnetically inactive e.g. plastic dummy-shim plates are used to fill up the pocket, such that a pocket always contains a dense stack that secures the shim plates’ positions. Hence, essentially the entire volume of the channel of the shim pocket is available to hold shim elements. The more volume is available, the more shim elements may be employed. This leads to a more accurate spatially uniform magnetic field. Due to the increased available shim volume, the shim tray of the invention may also enable to adequately shim magnets that could not be properly shimmed with the conventional shim tray.

In order to hold the end shim element(s) mechanically in place, the channel's opposite longitudinal side walls have insertion profiles, notably near the channel's end(s). In this way, the end shim elements are held mechanically in positon and can withstand the magnetic forces when the shim tray is slid in position. Note that, e.g. during mounting, the shim tray is moved in a region (outside of the examination region) where the main magnetic field may have strong inhomogeneities so that magnetic forces of varying strength and orientations will act on the shim elements of the shim tray while slid longitudinally into position. The end shim element(s) are shaped so that their sides precisely lodge in the insertion profiles and the end shim elements may be laterally slid into the insertion profiles. Preferably the insertion profiles are provided at both channel ends and end shim elements are located at both channel ends inserted in their insertion profile. Alternatively, insertion profiles may be provided at one channel end and at the opposite channel end a conventional cover closes the open channel. In this alternative embodiment, the channel is an open channel with a single sided opening that may be closed by the end shim element. There are alternative geometries possible, in which in general the shim elements are polygon shaped and the orientation(s) of the insertion profiles matches with the polygon-shape to allow the polygon shaped shim elements to easily slide into the insertion profiles. Note that a rectangular or square four-sided shape works well, is easy to manufacture and the insertion profiles are easy to match.

A number of shim elements may be stacked into the channel having their normal along the channel's axis. These shim elements are held in place by the channel's side walls and the end shim elements. The end shim elements held in position in the insertion profiles hold the shim elements in the channel along the channel axis. In other words, the insertion profiles mechanically hold the end shim elements, which then hold the shim elements in the channel. While the end shim elements may be placed by sliding them laterally into the insertion profiles, the shim elements may be entered along the transverse direction into the shim pocket. Once the shim pocket is filled with the shim elements that rest on top of each other and on the end shim element at the bottom, the channel may be closed by laterally sliding in the end shim element at the top. Then the shim elements are secured between the end (top and bottom) shim elements, the latter being secured in the insertion profiles.

Preferably, the end shim elements are flush with the top and bottom. This configuration maximises the available shim volume.

These and other aspects of the invention will be further elaborated with reference to the embodiments defined in the dependent Claims.

In an example of the shim tray of the invention, the insertion profiles are longitudinal indents in the lateral side walls of the channel of the shim pocket. In this way, the insertion profiles are made as an integral part of the lateral side walls. The indents extend laterally along the lateral side walls. This is easy to manufacture.

In a further example, the opposite side walls are parallel, so as to fit rectangular end shim elements to be easily slid laterally into the insertion profiles.

In a further example, lateral side walls extend laterally between the longitudinal rails. The longitudinal rails match with shim channels in the magnet structure and allow the shim tray to easily slide into the shim channels of the magnet structure. The lateral side walls and the longitudinal rails form the lateral and longitudinal side walls, respectively of the individual channels. That is, the shim tray of the invention has parallel longitudinal rails that form the longitudinal side walls of each of the shim pockets. The longitudinal side walls of the each of the shim pockets are a part of one of the longitudinal rails. This construction renders the shim tray of the invention easy to manufacture. The longitudinal rails and lateral side walls may be formed as an integral unit that is simple and inexpensive to manufacture. The longitudinal rails and the lateral side walls extend longitudinally and laterally, respectively to form the open channels of each of the shim pockets that has a transverse length to house a number of shim elements between the respective end shim elements. This integral unit may be manufactured seamlessly by injection moulding of plastic.

In a further example, the end shim element(s) may be provided with a protrusion that corresponds with the indents. In position, the protrusions are orientated longitudinally as are the indents in the lateral side walls. The indents are indented

longitudinally in the lateral side walls and extend laterally. The combination of the longitudinal protrusions and the longitudinal indents form a secure clamp of the end shim element, while that end shim element can be comfortable slid laterally in position. Once in position, the end shim element may be held firmly in position in its indents. The end shim element may be further secured in position in that it makes an interference fit with the indent, so that the shim elements needs to be slid into position with a little pressure. Once the end shim element(s) are firmly fixed in position, the end shim elements (and consequently also the shim elements in the shim pockets) are prevented from falling out. These fixations are strong enough to resist pull of the magnetic field of the main magnet. The protrusions may be integral with the end shim element and in fact extend the longitudinal size of the end shim elements relative to the shim elements. Alternatively, the protrusions may be shaped to fit into the indents while the lateral side walls support the body of the end shim elements when in position with its protrusions lodged in the indents. Because the end shim elements act both to shim the magnetic field and to cover the shim pocket (and no separate e.g. plastic lid is required), the space in the shim pocket is used more efficiently for shimming.

These and other aspects of the invention will be elucidated with reference to the embodiments described hereinafter and with reference to the accompanying drawing wherein

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Fig. la shows a schematic top view of an example of a shim tray of the invention;

Fig. lb shows a volumetric view of a part of the shim tray of Fig. la;

Fig. 2 shows a schematic side elevation of a part of an example of the shim tray of the invention and

Fig. 3 shows a schematic side elevation of a part of another example of the shim tray of the invention. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

Fig. la shows a schematic top view of an example of a shim tray 10 of the invention. The longitudinal rails 41 extend parallel to each other along the longitudinal axis (lng). Lateral side walls 21 extend laterally (lat) between the longitudinal rails 41 and form open channels 11 in the transverse direction (tr). An individual open channel is bounded by two of the lateral side walls 21 and two opposite parts of the respective longitudinal rails 42. The open channels form the so-called shim pockets 11 to hold the shim elements 12. The open channels are open in that the shim elements may be inserted along the transverse direction from one or both ends. The end shim elements 13 may be inserted laterally to close the shim pocket 11 to hold the shim elements 12 in position.

Fig. lb shows a volumetric view of a part of the shim tray of Fig. la during mounting of the shim elements in the shim tray, as its shim pockets are being filled with the shim elements. Several of the shim pockets are shown, each filled with the shim elements and closed with its end shim element. The most to the right shim pocket is shown empty providing a view along the transverse axis into the open channel. One shim element 13 is shown still outside of the open channel as it is being moved along the transverse direction into the channel to be lodged in position in the shim pocket.

Fig. 2 shows a schematic side elevation of a part of an example of the shim tray of the invention Fig. 2 shows the shim tray of the invention as viewed along the longitudinal direction and the plan of the drawing is in the transverse-lateral plane. The example of Fig. 2 shows two end shim elements 13 each at an end of the open channel forming the shim pocket 11. Shim elements 12 (by way of example six shim elements are shown) are located in the shim pockets and firmly clamped between the respective end shim elements 13 at either sides of the open channel and hence covering the openings of the channel forming the shim pocket.

At the transverse ends of the longitudinal side walls 21 the insertion profiles 22 are shown that are indented longitudinally in lateral side walls and extend laterally. The end shim elements can be slid along the lateral directions into the insertion provides where they are held in position in the insertion profiles. Thus the shim elements 12 are held firmly in position between the end shim elements 13, which in turn are held in position because their longitudinal extensions fit snugly in the insertion profiles. The (end) shim elements 12,13 are firmly fixed and the fixation resists pull of the magnetic field of the main magnet. Thus the (end) shim elements cannot come out of the shim pockets and this makes mounting of the shim tray easier while the magnet is at field. The end shim elements clamp the shim elements between them and the end shim elements are secured by their protrusions in the indent so that the (end) shim elements cannot fall out or be pulled out my the magnetic forces during mounting.

To close the open channel of the shim pocket to protect the shim elements from corrosion, plastic covers 31 may be provided over the openings of the shim pocket and clamped to the structure of the shim tray 10. These separate covers may be dispensed with and the end shim elements closing the open channel of the shim pocket. The end shim elements' protrusions 23 may make an interference fit with the indents 22 so that the end shim elements are clamped into the indents and remain securely in position.

Fig. 3 shows a schematic side elevation of a part of an example of the shim tray of the invention. Fig. 3 shows a further detail on the insertion profiles and further preferred shape of the end shim element 13. The example of the shim tray of Fig. 4 has twenty-six shim elements and end shim elements 13 at both ends of the open channel. At both channel ends there is an end shim element with protrusions that fit into lateral indents in the lateral sides walls ate respective channel ends. One end shim element at the bottom is shown in position in its indents, another end shim element 13 at the top is shown not yet in position. This end shim element at the top is to be slid in position in its space 131 with its protrusions 23 lodged in the indents 22. As shown in Fig. 3, the viewer sees the space for the end shim element bounded at its lateral rear end by the longitudinal wall 12. Each end shim element 13 is provided with a protrusion 23 along the lateral direction and extending longitudinally. The protrusion's 23 shape corresponds with the shape of the lateral indent 22 and the lateral side wall. In this embodiment, the lateral side walls strongly support the end shim element in its position so that it can withstand pull by the magnetic field. The protrusions fall in the indents and the body of the end shim element rests firmly against the lateral side wall. This provides very good support to withstand the magnetic forces that pull onto the ferromagnetic (end) shim elements during mounting and when in position. At the top end of the channel the end shim element 13 is also shown when not mounted in the indents so that the shape of the protrusions is rendered more clearly visible.