Comparison of fast field-cycling magnetic resonance imaging methods and future perspectives

Markus Bödenler (Corresponding Author), Ludovic de Rochefort, P. James Ross, Nicolas Chanet, Geneviève Guillot, Gareth R. Davies, Christian Gösweiner, Hermann Scharfetter, David J. Lurie, Lionel M. Broche

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Fast field-cycling (FFC) nuclear magnetic resonance relaxometry is a well-established method to determine the relaxation rates as a function of magnetic field strength. This so-called nuclear magnetic relaxation dispersion gives insight into the underlying molecular dynamics of a wide range of complex systems and has gained interest especially in the characterisation of biological tissues and diseases. The combination of FFC techniques with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) offers a high potential for new types of image contrast more specific to pathological molecular dynamics. This article reviews the progress in FFC-MRI over the last decade and gives an overview of the hardware systems currently in operation. We discuss limitations and error correction strategies specific to FFC-MRI such as field stability and homogeneity, signal-to-noise ratio, eddy currents and acquisition time. We also report potential applications with impact in biology and medicine. Finally, we discuss the challenges and future applications in transferring the underlying molecular dynamics into novel types of image contrast by exploiting the dispersive properties of biological tissue or MRI contrast agents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)832-848
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular Physics
Issue number7-8
Early online date18 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

This article is based upon work from COST Action CA15209, supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology). M. Bödenler, C. Gösweiner and H. Scharfetter acknowledge the financial support by the European Commission in the frame of the H2020 Future and Emerging Technologies (FET-open) under grant agreement 665172, project ‘CONQUER’. L. de Rochefort acknowledges the France Life Imaging network (Grant ANR-11-INBS-0006) that partially funded the small animal FFC-MRI system. D.J. Lurie, L.M. Broche and P.J. Ross acknowledge funding from the European Union’s H2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 668119, project ‘IDentIFY’.


  • field-cycling
  • delta relaxation enhanced MR
  • dispersion
  • NMRD
  • Field-cycling


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