Magnetic particle imaging

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Magnetic particle imaging (MPI) is a tomographic imaging technique that measures the magnetic fields generated by superparamagnetic nanoparticles (iron oxide) as tracers. Researchers at Philips Research have used the technique to achieve resolutions finer than one millimeter. Magnetic particle imaging has potential applications in medicine and material science. Recently, the first in-vivo results were published revealing structures of a beating mouse heart.

In comparison to the classic setup as a cave, the University of Lübeck in Germany is developing a single-sided MPI scanner. The single-sided MPI scanner could be used like an ultrasound device.


In 2001, researchers at the Royal Philips Research Lab in Hamburg came up with the initial concept of MPI. In 2005, they created and started testing with their first MPI scanner set up.[1] By 2009, the blood flow and organs within mice were successfully imaged.

Superparamagnetic nanofluid[edit]

The superparamagnetic nanofluid used in magnetic particle imaging is superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO). This fluid is very responsive to even weak magnetic fields, and all of the magnetic moments will line up in the direction of an induced magnetic field. These particles can be used because the human body does not contain anything which will create magnetic interference in imaging.


  • High resolution (~0.4 mm)
  • Fast image results (~20 ms)
  • No radiation
  • No iodine
  • No background noise (high contrast)

Congresses, Workshops[edit]


  1. ^ Bernhard Gleich, Jürgen Weizenecker (2005). "Tomographic imaging using the nonlinear response of magnetic particles". Nature. 435. doi:10.1038/nature03808. 

External links[edit]