SBIR Phase I: Evaluation of screen-printing as a manufacturing technique for MRI coils

Period of Performance: 07/01/2017 - 12/31/2017


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

InkSpace Imaging, Inc.
279 Rheem Boulevard Array
Moraga, CA 94556
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


This SBIR Phase I project tackles the key challenges of using screen-printing to manufacture receive coils for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) at a commercial scale. MRI is widely used to establish a broad variety of clinical diagnosis, but suffers from long exam times and a high rate of failure, resulting in high costs. Printed receive coils are flexible, lightweight, conform well to the human body and can be manufactured at an order of magnitude lower costs. With this technology, coils can be designed and printed to fit all patient anatomy, therefore improving image quality and offering superior comfort. These technology offers the potential to increase success rate of MRI exams, speed up procedure time and to enhance clinical workflow. Printed coils will have an impact on the accessibility to MRI, serving a more diverse patient population, such as pediatric and bariatric patients, who currently have limited access to this imaging modality, due to the lack of adequate coils. Overall, this project aims at enabling the fabrication of printed coils, thus contributing to reduce health care costs associated with MRI while significantly improving the quality of patient care. This SBIR Phase I project investigates critical aspects of characterization of screen-printing MRI coil arrays for clinical use. We have shown that printed and flexible MRI arrays provide diagnostic images, while providing better fit and comfort to patients. Printing electronic materials is a novel manufacturing approach which is used here to fabricate these medical devices. Our goal is to provide coils with size and design customized for the diverse anatomy of patients. In this proposed program, we will evaluate the reproducibility of printing, design strategies and the robustness and lifetime of printed coil arrays. Coil size and geometry have a direct impact on image quality and body coverage. We will study the fundamental limits of coil size and geometry when fabricated using solution processed conductors with lower conductivity than conventional metals. The variations in measured signal-to-noise-ratio and image quality from print to print will be characterized and documented in order to provide a successful model for large-scale and low-cost manufacturing of coil arrays. Finally, the robustness of printed arrays will be tested. The packaging used in our designs are significantly different from the status-quo. Lifetime quantification for arrays used in clinical scenarios is important for a successful business plan.