Advanced Imaging - Coil Development

The Living Laboratory’s Coil Development project is developing new radiofrequency (RF) coils for use in ultra-high-resolution 7 Tesla (7T) MRI. The enhanced imaging power granted by these coils extends the usefulness of 7T MRI for diagnosing and monitoring disease.

7T MRI is an extremely powerful scanning technology that produces highly detailed images of internal organs and tissues, allowing scientists and clinicians to study the body in greater detail than ever before. However, the ability to diagnose disease with 7T MRI is limited, because current product options produce non-uniform images unsuitable for diagnostic use. To address this, the project is developing new RF coils – the devices responsible for generating and receiving MRI signal to produce images – which will allow 7T MRI to be used to its full imaging potential. 


The Coil Development project is a collaboration between researchers at the University of Glasgow, NHSGGC, medical technology company and MRI manufacturer Siemens Healthineers, and MR CoilTech, a Glasgow-based company that engineer and test RF coils for use in high-power MRI for research and clinical purposes. The team are taking the new coils from conception, design, and manufacturing, through clinical validation, and ultimately to integration in research and medicine.

The coils are tested within the University of Glasgow’s Imaging Centre of Excellence (ICE), which is one of the first sites in the world to have this next-generation MRI technology situated in a hospital. The ability to validate these coils in a clinical setting and establish their usefulness for diagnosis and treatment will confirm their benefit to patients and support the routine use of 7T MRI as a clinical diagnostic tool for precision medicine. 

MR CoilTech’s technical expertise and the partnership between industry, academia and the NHS enables accelerated commercialisation of these novel specialised coils, developing a defined route to market for precision medicine innovations. The commercialisation aspect of this project will lead to a global increase in the clinical use of 7T MRI technology. It will also generate growth for MR CoilTech and lead to high-value engineering opportunities, ultimately making Glasgow the go-to location for RF coil development.


The body-part-specific radiofrequency coils that are currently being developed as part of the Living Laboratory’s Coil Development project include a head coil, neurovascular coil, prostate coil and a spinal coil.

Head Coil
The coil provides high-resolution images of the brain, essential for expanding our understanding of neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or motor neurone disease. It uses an open-faced design to reduce the discomfort that some people can experience when they have an MRI scan. 

Neurovascular Coil 
The neurovascular coil is for imaging of the blood vessels in the head and neck, which supply the brain with blood. Its primary role is in the imaging of neurovascular disorders, such as stroke. 

Prostate Coil 
This coil is for imaging of the prostate in the abdomen, which will support the study of prostate-related diseases, including prostate cancer. 

Spinal Coil 
The fourth coil is for imaging of the spine, and its main applications will be in imaging of spinal injuries.