The world's most powerful MRI scanner is edging closer to completion, according to a report from IEEE Spectrum. Due for delivery in September 2014, the scanner will be strong enough to lift 60t and will offer unprecedented images of the human brain.
Once it is operational, the scanner will produce a field of 11.75T, which is more than has ever been generated by a whole-body scanner. By way of contrast, a typical hospital MRI produces 1.5 or 3.0T, and the Large Hadron Collider produces 8.4T. This machine, known as INUMAC, will exceed even the 9.4T scanners recently installed at several institutions around the world.
The real goal here is to improve image resolution, therefore allowing MRIs to pick up on brain abnormalities at the earliest possible stage. While a conventional scanner will have a resolution of about 1.0mm, or 10,000 neurons, the INUMAC will bring this down to 0.1mm and 1,000 neurons.
It will also be able to see changes occurring ten times as fast. This will allow for far better functional imaging of the brain at work.
The first images are likely to be ready at the start of 2015.