Educational simulator app and web page for exploring Nuclear and Compass Magnetic Resonance

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A graphical app and browser-based simulator, CompassMR, was developed for initial Magnetic Resonance (MR) education. It is available at and executes directly in most browsers with no further need for software. Easy access and a simple user interface invite student experimentation that improves understanding of basic MR phenomena. The simulator is used to introduce and explore electromagnetism, magnetic dipoles, static and radiofrequency fields, Compass MR, the free induction decay (FID), relaxation, the Fourier transform (FFT), the resonance condition, spin, precession, the Larmor equation, Nuclear MR, resonant excitation (linear and quadrature), and off-resonance effects.
Methods and implementation:
The simulator is a complete HTML5/JavaScript[1,2] rewrite of the JavaCompass[3] so it now executes in modern browsers with no additional software needed. Spin dynamics and enhanced responsiveness was added. Android App conversion was accomplished using Adobe PhoneGap[4]. The basis for the graphical spin simulation is the semi-classical Bloch vector equation[5] for a proton in combined stationary and oscillating magnetic fields, B0 and B1. For providing intuitive insight, the corresponding classical equation of motion for a compass needle in similar fields is used to simulate Compass Magnetic Resonance (CMR) that is similar to NMR except for needle vibration substituting nuclear precession. The nuclear Bloch vector moves like the magnetic moment of a classical rotating charge distribution [6] as shown in the simulator. Spin is a consequence of Quantum Mechanics (QM) and not all aspects of spin and nuclei are represented in this naive picture. Beyond spin, the consequences of QM for proton MR are largely not observable, however, and the QM Bloch vector moves as shown in the simulator. Hence, it demonstrates nuclear dynamics more accurately than typical QM-inspired "cone" pictorial representations aimed at giving better representations of MR than classical mechanics, while often doing the opposite. This justification of the classical perspective is discussed in detail in [7].
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2016
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event33rd ESMRMB Annual Scientific Meeting - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 29 Sep 20161 Oct 2016


Conference33rd ESMRMB Annual Scientific Meeting

Bibliographical note

Proceedings of the ESMRMB 33th Annual Meeting, 534, 2016.


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