Many clinical science projects need to connect foreign RF coils to a MRI system. These coils are either homemade or ordered at small coil companies.
The COil CONstruction UTility (COCONUT) is designed to help building special coils for those clinical science projects and for rapid prototyping. It provides the electronics needed to control the coil, get the signals from the signal probes, pre-amplify and hand them over to the MR system. It consists of a detailed documentation, two (partly mounted) printed circuit boards (PCB) and a MathCAD spreadsheet (the picture shows the backside of the COCONUT-PCB):
The workflow with COCONUT is the following: After a coil is physically built with a few stripes of copper and a few capacitors, it needs some electronic circuits to become a real MR RF receiving coil. These circuits are located on the COCONUT PCB, but the values of the electronic components are different for every coil. The COCONUT spreadsheet for MathCAD (a mathematic computer program) will help to calculate these values. It also produces a graphical instruction where the elements have to be soldered:
(This description of the workflow is of cause oversimplified - the real documentation has 85 pages and it does not include the coil design!)
The PCB could look like this after soldering all the components:
The picture shows the top side of the COCONUT-PCB. Notice that there are six channels implemented and that the three channels in the front look different than the three in the back. The reason for this is explained in the
implementation example »