Cryogenic Preamplifiers for Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Daniel H. Johansen, Juan D. Sanchez-Heredia, Jan R. Petersen, Tom K. Johansen, Vitaliy Zhurbenko, Jan H. Ardenkjaer-Larsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Pursuing the ultimate limit of detection in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) requires cryogenics to decrease the thermal noise of the electronic circuits. As cryogenic coils for MRI are slowly emerging cryogenic preamplifiers are required to fully exploit their potential. A cryogenic preamplifier operated at 77 K is designed and implemented for C imaging at 3 T (32.13 MHz), using off-the-shelves components. The design is based on a high electron mobility transistor (ATF54143) in a common source configuration. Required auxiliary circuitry for optimal cryogenic preamplifier performance is also presented consisting of a voltage regulator (noise free supply voltage and optimal power consumption), switch, and trigger (for active detuning during transmission to protect the preamplifier). A gain of 18 dB with a noise temperature of 13.7 K is achieved. Performing imaging experiments in a 3 T scanner showed an 8% increased signal-to-noise ratio from 365 to 399 when lowering the temperature of the preamplifier from 296 to 77 K while keeping the coil at room temperature. This paper thus enables the merger of cryogenic coils and preamplifiers in the hopes of reaching the ultimate limit of detection for MRI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8233404
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)202-210
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Biomedical electronics
  • Cryogenic electronics
  • Hyperpolarization
  • Low noise amplifier
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • preamplifiers


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