Design and experimental validation of a unilateral magnet for MRI-guided small animal radiation experiments

Jace Grandinetti, Yuncheng Zhong, Chenyang Shen, Xun Jia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Small animal radiation experiments are of paramount importance for the advancement of human radiation therapy. These experiments use a dedicated radiation platform to deliver radiation to small animals, such as mice and rats, similar to how human radiation therapy is performed. By acquiring images immediately before radiation delivery to guide positioning of the animals, image guidance plays a critical role to ensure accuracy of the experiments. Recently, MR-based image guidance has been enabled in human radiation therapy. This paper proposes a new concept using a unilateral magnet-based MRI scanner to realize image guidance for small animal radiation experiments. We reported our design, optimization, construction, and characterization of the magnet. The magnet was designed using eight 2-inch neodymium magnet cubes arranged in a modified Halbach ring configuration. The ring has an opening to allow for animal positioning. We considered a spherical region of interest (ROI) located outside of the ring's plane to allow radiation delivery to the ROI without obstruction of the magnet. An optimization problem was formulated and solved to determine the positions and orientations of the magnet cubes to generate a magnetic field with desired properties in the ROI. The optimization improved the average magnetic flux density from 55 mT to 72 mT and reduced variation from 1.2 T/m to 1.0 T/m. We constructed the magnet using 3D-printed templates to hold the neodymium magnet cubes with the optimized positions and orientations. We measured the spatial distribution of the magnetic flux density. The measurement results and computed results agreed with an average difference of 0.35% through the ROI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107062
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Halbach magnet
  • Magnet design
  • Small animal radiation
  • Unilateral magnet MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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