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Noise figure characterization of preamplifiers at NMR frequencies


Nordmeyer-Massner, J A; De Zanche, N; Pruessmann, K P (2011). Noise figure characterization of preamplifiers at NMR frequencies. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 210(1):7-15.

Abstract

A method for characterizing the noise figure of preamplifiers at NMR frequencies is presented. The noise figure of preamplifiers as used for NMR and MRI detection varies with source impedance and with the operating frequency. Therefore, to characterize a preamplifier's noise behavior, it is necessary to perform noise measurements at the targeted frequency while varying the source impedance with high accuracy. At high radiofrequencies, such impedance variation is typically achieved with transmission-line tuners, which however are not available for the relatively low range of typical NMR frequencies. To solve this issue, this work describes an alternative approach that relies on lumped-element circuits for impedance manipulation. It is shown that, using a fixed-impedance noise source and suitable ENR correction, this approach permits noise figure characterization for NMR and MRI purposes. The method is demonstrated for two preamplifiers, a generic BF998 MOSFET module and an MRI-dedicated, integrated preamplifier, which were both studied at 128MHz, i.e., at the Larmor frequency of protons at 3 Tesla. Variations in noise figure of 0.01dB or less over repeated measurements reflect high precision even for small noise figures in the order of 0.4dB. For validation, large sets of measured noise figure values are shown to be consistent with the general noise-parameter model of linear two-ports. Finally, the measured noise characteristics of the superior preamplifier are illustrated by SNR measurements in MRI data.

A method for characterizing the noise figure of preamplifiers at NMR frequencies is presented. The noise figure of preamplifiers as used for NMR and MRI detection varies with source impedance and with the operating frequency. Therefore, to characterize a preamplifier's noise behavior, it is necessary to perform noise measurements at the targeted frequency while varying the source impedance with high accuracy. At high radiofrequencies, such impedance variation is typically achieved with transmission-line tuners, which however are not available for the relatively low range of typical NMR frequencies. To solve this issue, this work describes an alternative approach that relies on lumped-element circuits for impedance manipulation. It is shown that, using a fixed-impedance noise source and suitable ENR correction, this approach permits noise figure characterization for NMR and MRI purposes. The method is demonstrated for two preamplifiers, a generic BF998 MOSFET module and an MRI-dedicated, integrated preamplifier, which were both studied at 128MHz, i.e., at the Larmor frequency of protons at 3 Tesla. Variations in noise figure of 0.01dB or less over repeated measurements reflect high precision even for small noise figures in the order of 0.4dB. For validation, large sets of measured noise figure values are shown to be consistent with the general noise-parameter model of linear two-ports. Finally, the measured noise characteristics of the superior preamplifier are illustrated by SNR measurements in MRI data.

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3 citations in Web of Science®
3 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Engineering
Dewey Decimal Classification:170 Ethics
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:22 Jan 2012 20:04
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:27
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:1053-1807
Publisher DOI:10.1016/j.jmr.2011.01.025
PubMed ID:21439871
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-56457

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