Dr. Shajan Gunamony

Address: Spemannstr. 41
72076 Tübingen
Room number: 3.B.06
Phone: +49 7071 601 734
Fax: +49 7071 601 702
E-Mail: Shajan.Gunamony


Picture of Gunamony, Shajan, Dr.

Shajan Gunamony

Position: Research Scientist  Unit: Alumni Scheffler

Radio Frequency Coils for Ultra-High Field MRI

Volume resonators, highly successful at clinical field strength, cannot be used at ultra-high field (UHF) because of the inhomogeneous distribution of the RF field in tissue caused by the shorter wavelength. Hence, at UHF, transmit array coils are an essential tool to apply static or dynamic parallel transmission methods to mitigate the inhomogeneous spatial distribution of the RF field produced by the coil.


It is equally important to optimize the receive performance of the setup by using receive array coils designed to maximize the signal to noise ratio (SNR) and improved parallel imaging capability.


I am involved in the development of RF coils and RF hardware for the different MRI scanners in the institute. The main projects are:


  • Design of a dual-row transmit array in combination with a receive array for optimum image SNR from the whole brain at 9.4 T.


  • A 23Na MRI setup designed to maximize the 23Na SNR. The setup also has B0 shimming capability.


  • Shaped receive arrays for simultaneous electrophysiology and fMRI.

16-channel transmit and 31-channel receive array

Arranging transmit array elements in multiple rows provides an additional degree of freedom to correct B1+ field in-homogeneities and to achieve whole-brain excitation at frequencies as high as 400 MHz. Receive arrays shaped to the contours of the human anatomy increase the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the image. We developed a cutting-edge RF setup that exploits the benefits of UHF brain MRI: a dual-row transmit array with 16 mutually decoupled transmit elements was combined with a 31-channel tight-fitting receive array to achieve B1+ field control and high-SNR parallel signal reception in the entire brain even at 9.4 T.

Figure 1

Multi-nuclei coils

Figure 2UHF MR scanners constitute a significant benefit for non-proton imaging because the SNR has been found to scale at least linearly with the static magnetic field B0. A multi-nuclei imaging setup with the capability to acquire both 23Na and proton (1H) signals at 9.4 T was developed. It consists of a combination of three RF coil arrays to cover the entire human brain. The main objective was to optimize coil performance at the 23Na frequency while still having the ability to also acquire whole-brain 1H images for B0 shimming and anatomical localization.

The three layered coil design method originally proposed by our group for 23Na MRI was adapted for phosphorus (31P) spectroscopy and 1H imaging to perform 31P 3D chemical shift imaging (CSI) of the human brain at 9.4 T.

Shaped Arrays for non-human Primate Research

Simultaneous investigation of electrophysiology and fMRI in non-human primates presents several challenges on RF coil design. In addition to homogeneous excitation, the transmit coil structure should allow access for the electrodes from different orientations to allow recordings from different brain regions. Receive array designs aimed at maximizing the SNR of the fMRI experiment must be designed around head posts fixed on the animal head, leading to non-optimum coil orientations in the helmet. In cases with more than one head posts, the receive array structure must be splittable so that the two separable halves of the receive helmet can be fixed tightly on the monkey’s head. We developed an RF coil arrangement that optimizes the SNR and also allow access for recordings from different regions of the brain. The RF hardware development in combination with method development improved the signal sampling efficiency of fMRI by a considerable factor.

Figure 3



Professional Experience:

1998-2000               Scientist/Engineer at the ISRO Satellite Center, Indian Space Research Organization, Bangalore, India
2001-2007     Senior Engineer in the MR Engineering Group, GE Healthcare, Bangalore, India
Since July 2007 Research Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tuebingen, Germany


1991 - 1995                   Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and Communication Engineering, Karunya Institute of Technology, Coimbatore, India
1996 - 1998 Master of Engineering in Communication Systems, Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai, India


RF Coil Assembly US patent No. 7605588 / HF-Spulenanordnung (DE102006050989A1)

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Talks (26):

Hoffmann JO, Shajan G and Pohmann R (May-9-2011) Abstract Talk: Human Brain Imaging at 9.4 Tesla Using a Combination of Traveling Wave Excitation with a 15-Channel Receive-Only Array, 19th Annual Meeting and Exhibition of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM 2011), Montréal, Canada 157.
Budde J, Pohmann R, Shajan G and Ugurbil K (April-20-2009) Abstract Talk: Susceptibility Weighted Imaging of the Human Brain at 9.4T, 17th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM 2009), Honolulu, HI, USA(43).
Balla DZ, Faber C, Schneider JT, Shajan G and Pohmann R (October-2-2008) Abstract Talk: Strong BOLD-effect with TurboCRAZED MRI following hyperoxia in the rat brain at 16.4 T, ESMRMB 2008 Congress: 25th Annual Meeting, Valencia, Spain, Magnetic Resonance Materials in Physics, Biology and Medicine, 21(Supplement 1) 36-37.
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Last updated: Tuesday, 18.11.2014