Least Squares Magnetic-Field Optimization for Portable Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Magnet Design
Single-sided and mobile nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) sensors have the advantages of portability, low cost, and low power consumption compared to conventional high-field NMR and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems. We present fast, flexible, and easy-to-implement target field algorithms for mobile NMR and MRI magnet design. The optimization finds a global optimum in a cost function that minimizes the error in the target magnetic field in the sense of least squares. When the technique is tested on a ring array of permanent-magnet elements, the solution matches the classical dipole Halbach solution. For a single-sided handheld NMR sensor, the algorithm yields a 640 G field homogeneous to 16 100 ppm across a 1.9 cc volume located 1.5 cm above the top of the magnets and homogeneous to 32 200 ppm over a 7.6 cc volume. This regime is adequate for MRI applications. We demonstrate that the homogeneous region can be continuously moved away from the sensor by rotating magnet rod elements, opening the way for NMR sensors with adjustable "sensitive volumes."