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A comparison of two phase measurement techniques for Magnetic Impedance Tomography

A.L. McEwan1, M. Hamsch2, S. Watson3, C.H. Igney2 and J. Kahlert2.


School of Electrical and Information Engineering, The University of Sydney, Sydney 2006, Australia.

Philips Research, Weisshausstrasse 2, D-52066 Aachen, Germany

Faculty of Advanced Technology, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, CF37 1DL, UK.

AbstractMagnetic induction tomography (MIT) allows the reconstruction of conductivity distributions inside a given volume for a wide variety of industrial and medical applications. Philips is interested in using the MIT technique for acquiring information of conductivity distribution and conductivity changes in human tissue. The advantage of this technique is the contactless and non-invasive way of collecting information on the tissue. An MIT system consists of excitation coils that produce a primary magnetic field that causes eddy currents in a conductive object. The eddy current produces a secondary magnetic field that can be detected by an array of receiving coils. Improved Philips MIT setups based on IF down-conversion and high-speed sampling are compared. MIT demands an accurate measure of phase and the new setups are found to offer improvements in noise, linearity and drift over our previous system. Keywords MIT, Magnetic induction tomography, high-speed sampling, medical instrumentation.

II. BACKGROUND A common technique for the measurement of radio frequency signals is down-conversion to an intermediate frequency (IF) such as the widely used heterodyne in communications. This method has been traditionally used as it allows the use of higher resolutions analogue to digital converters which operate at lower sampling rates. For example in our current MIT system we are able to use a 24bit, 192kS/s analogue to digital converter (manufacturer: MOTU, device: MOTU HD 192) by down-converting our 10MHz signal of interest to 10kHz. However, this technique requires the use of a mixer and distributed local oscillator signal which introduce errors into the phase signal we are seeking to measure [3]. One way to use less components is via a high-speed sampling card, such as the National Instruments NI PXI-5105 [4] which is able to sample the 10MHz signal directly at 60MS/s with 12 bit resolution. Once this signal is sampled its phase can be calculated on a PC.

I. INTRODUCTION Magnetic Impedance Tomography (MIT) is a noncontact impedance measurement based imaging technique. The technique uses a set of radio frequency coils to measure the conductance of a body of interest. The coils are used to both create and induce an eddy current into tissue and measure the resulting, secondary magnetic field. This field is many orders of magnitude smaller than the primary field and hence various techniques have been proposed to separate the two fields, such as coils arrangements i.e. gradiometers or electronic cancellation etc. We have elected to measure the phase change caused by changes in the conductivity of the sample as the most straightforward technique [1] which is less sensitive to mechanical sources of error [2]. This paper compares two schemes for phase measurement, direct high-speed sampling and down-conversion to an intermediate frequency.

III. METHODS In the first setup labeled MOTU, the Philips MIT system (as described by Hamsch et al 2007 [3]) has been modified to reduce noise and drift by using a combination of AD8332 amplifier and AD8333 mixer, recommended by Analog Devices for ultra low-noise medical imaging. Unfortunately due to the large dynamic range seen by the MIT receiver channels, the low-noise amplifier (LNA) component of the AD8332 had to be bypassed to avoid saturation. The local oscillator signal at the mixer was set to down-

O. Dssel and W.C. Schlegel (Eds.): WC 2009, IFMBE Proceedings 25/II, pp. 46, 2009.

A Comparison of Two Phase Measurement Techniques for Magnetic Impedance Tomography

convert the RF signal to 10kHz. This signal is sampled by the MOTU HD 192 ADC. A. Noise:


Standard deviation phase millidegree





16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 Channel num ber NI AD8099 MOTU AD8332





Fig. 1 The two setups, (a) MOTU setup (IF down-conversion.), (b) NI
setup, (high-speed sampling).

Fig. 2 Noise comparison of the two setups. In the second setup labeled NI, a National Instruments PXI-5105 high-speed data acquisition system was used to acquire the received signal following a single stage AD8099 amplifier with a fixed gain of 20dB. The NI PXI-5105 includes pre-amplifiers and these were set to maximize the range of the ADC for different channel magnitudes. In both setups, an excitation signal of 200mA at 10MHz was used to energize one excitation coil. Data samples were collected from the remaining 15 channels during a time window of 100ms. The phase and amplitude of the digitised signal was computed using the Chirp-Z transform in Labview. For the measurement of noise the standard deviation of 100 data samples was taken. Drift was measured as the largest deviation over 30 minutes. The linearity of the two setups was also estimated by measuring the phase change due to introducing eight saline phantoms of 10 l and increasing conductivity following [5]. The sensitivity of the setups was estimated by measuring the rate of change of the imaginary component over the eight measurements in the most distant channel to the excitation (channel 8) which was the channel with the smallest signal magnitude. In the linearity experiment the NI card was used with the AD8332 amplifier so that the two setups could be measured quickly to reduce changes in the environment which might introduce some bias.

B. Drift: The drift measured using the MOTU and NI setup was 102m and 55m respectively. C. Linearity:

3 y = 0,8619x R2 = 0,9978 2,5

V i m a g (m V )

y = 0,801x R2 = 0,9878 1,5

NI MOTU Linear (NI)

Linear (MOTU)


0 0 -0,5 Conductivity (S/m) 0,5 1 1,5 2 2,5 3 3,5

Fig. 3 Linearity of the most distant channel (channel 8) in each setup.

The imaginary slope fort the MOTU and NI setups were 0.2mV/ S/m and 0.8mV/ S/m and the amplitude standard deviations were 0.35uV and 1.98uV leading to a sensitivity of 52.11dB and 55.14dB respectively.

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V. CONCLUSIONS Both MOTU and NI results show similar drift, noise and linearity performance. Both are an improvement over our previously reported results and are comparable to the results reported in [6] when taking into account different coils, setup dimensions and excitation amplitudes. The most dominant source of noise in the presented results is the first amplifier, either AD8099 or AD8332. Both setups would benefit from a reduced dynamic range to enable the use of the AD8332 LNA. Down-conversion to IF or high-speed sampling produce similar results because of limitations from amplifiers or high noise due to the large dynamic range. Encouragingly we have recently found that the use of a stronger excitation source leads to a reduction of the standard deviation of the phase from 8 to 3 millidegrees. We plan to perform imaging with this setup. This setup will have a larger drift due to temperature effects but may be corrected by temperature sensors or the active/passive technique proposed in [7]. Significant advantages of the NI setup are the ability to measure large voltage signals and the ability to provide the amplitude and phase information at many frequencies (spectroscopy) by performing an FFT on the PC after digitization. Spectroscopy is likely to be important in many applications including the differentiation of acute stroke as there is no opportunity to take a measurement before stroke onset. However the method of IF down-conversion is real time whereas the NI setup comes with high data communication and PC processing overheads which may constrict its use in real time applications without a significant investment in additional equipment. This project was funded in part by the EC grant MTKDCT-2004-014459, EPSRC grant EP/E009158/1 Imaging low-conductivity materials in magnetic induction tomography LCOMIT, and AM was funded on a Marie Curie Fellowship.

1. Korjenevsky, A., V. Cherepenin, and S. Sapetsky, Magnetic induction tomography: experimental realization. Phys. Meas., 2000. 21(1): p. 89-94. Merwa R., Scharfetter H. Magnetic induction tomography: comparison of the image quality using different types of receivers. Phys. Meas. 2008;29(6):S417-29. M. Hamsch, M. Vauhkonen and C.H. Igney (2007) 16 channel magnetic induction tomography system featuring parallel readout. In XIII International Conference on Electrical Bioimpedance & VII Conference on Electrical Impedance Tomography, Graz, Austria, 2007. H Scharfetter, A Kstinger, S Issa Hardware for quasi-single-shot multifrequency magnetic induction tomography (MIT): the Graz Mk2 System, Physiol. Meas. 29 S431-S443, 2008. Griffiths, H., Magnetic Impedance Tomgraphy, in Electrical Impedance Tomography: Methods, History and Applications, Holder, D.S., ISBN 0750309520, IOP, 2005. Wee, H.C., S. Watson, R. Patz, H. Griffiths, and R.J. Williams. A magnetic Induction Tomography system with sub-millidegree phase noise and high long-term phase stability. in 4th European Congress for Medical and Biomedical Engineering, 2008, Antwerp. Watson, S., H.C. Wee, R. Patz, R.J. Williams, and H. Griffiths. A method for increasing the phase-measurement stability of Magnetic Induction Tomography system. in 4th European Congress for Medical and Biomedical Engineering, 2008, Antwerp, Belgium.







Address of the corresponding author: Author: Institute: Address: Email: Matthias Hamsch Philips Research Weisshausstr. 2, 52066 Aachen, Germany

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