A new type of gradiometer for the receiving circuit of magnetic induction tomography (MIT)

Hermann Scharfetter, Robert Merwa, Karl Pilz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Magnetic induction tomography (MIT) is a low-resolution imaging modality which aims at the three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of the electrical conductivity in objects from alternating magnetic fields. In MIT systems the magnetic field perturbations to be detected are very small when compared to the excitation field (ppm range). The voltage which is induced by the excitation field in the receiver coils must be suppressed for providing sufficient dynamic range. In the past, two very efficient strategies were proposed: adjusted planar gradiometers (PGRAD) and the orientation of a receiver coil with respect to the excitation coil such that the net magnetic flow is zero (zero flow coil, ZFC). In contrast to the PGRAD no voltage is induced in the ZFC by the main field. This is advantageous because two comparatively high voltages in the two gradiometer coils can never be subtracted perfectly, thus leaving a residual voltage which is prone to drift. However, a disadvantage of the ZFC is the higher susceptibility to interferences from far RF sources. In contrast, in the gradiometer such interferences are cancelled to a high degree. We developed a new type of gradiometer (zero flow gradiometer, ZFGRAD) which combines the advantages of ZFC and PGRAD. All three systems were compared with respect to sensitivity and perturbation to signal ratio (PSR) defined as the ratio of the signal change due to a magnetic perturbation field at the carrier frequency and the signal change due to shifting a metallic sphere between two test points. The spatial sensitivity of the three systems was found to be very similar. The PSR of the ZFGRAD was more than 12 times lower than that of the ZFC. Finally, the feasibility of image reconstruction with two arrays of eight excitation coils and eight ZFGRAD, respectively, was shown with a single-step Gauss-Newton reconstructor and simulated measurement data generated for a cylindrical tank with a spherical perturbation. The resulting images show a clear, bright feature at the correct position of the sphere and are comparable to those with PGRAD arrays.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-318
JournalPhysiological Measurement
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005


  • Field compensation
  • Gradiometer
  • Inverse problem
  • Magnetic induction tomography
  • Sensitivity map
  • Magnetics/instrumentation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Transducers
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional/methods
  • Humans
  • Plethysmography, Impedance/instrumentation
  • Electric Impedance
  • Equipment Design
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Animals
  • Body Constitution/physiology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging/instrumentation
  • Tomography/instrumentation
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted/methods
  • Computer-Aided Design
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Image Enhancement/instrumentation


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