Current medical applications of MRI are the state of the art in imaging with NMR. Our group is trying to push the technology to image a single cell with comparable resolution of, for example, the human brain. In order to image tiny components in cells, the size of the dual purpose coils that excite the system with radio frequency and listen to the signal must be on the order of the sample size. This entails construction under a microscope of coils ~100mm. This corresponds to samples ~1 nL. A systematic attempt was made to vary design parameters and examine the changes in the signal to noise ratio. Essentially the microcoils were an RLC circuit. The parameters varied were lead lengths, volumes of the coils, and resistivity of the wires. Intuition gives the correct results that small, low resistance microcoils with short leads gives a higher signal to noise, but the underlying physics is very profound.
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