NRC, with SPEAG, offers a unique software platform for MRI system design

NRC, with SPEAG, offers a unique software platform for MRI system design

The National Research Council Institute for Biodiagnostics (NRC-IBD) has teamed up with Schmid & Partner Engineering AG (SPEAG) of Zurich, Switzerland to offer a unique software platform for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner design. The new platform seamlessly integrates powerful new tools for radio-frequency (RF) array design and post-processing, and is the first software of its kind to combine all the tools needed to design RF-phased arrays into a single user friendly program.

Through an agreement announced today, SPEAG becomes the exclusive provider of NRC’s Musaik™ software. NRC-IBD and SPEAG have each developed leading-edge design tools that together offer unparalleled capacity for coil design. SPEAG’s SEMCAD X SOLUTION provides customers with magnetic field design tools for the design of MRI systems. NRC-IBD’s Musaik™ RF Array Designer software analyzes and displays multi-channel MRI data using various signal reconstruction techniques with either simulated or experimental input data.

With the urgent need for faster, better, less expensive healthcare technologies, it is anticipated that experts in the global MRI community will recognize the value in the new software platform. The combination of Musaik™ and SEMCAD will lay the groundwork for future breakthroughs in MRI system design.

“SPEAG’s expertise and solutions in simulation, design, optimization and experimental validation, combined with NRC’s in-depth understanding of RF coil array technology, allows us to jointly provide comprehensive tools to the MRI design community” said Dr. Michael Oberle, Head Medical Technology at SPEAG.

Meeting the need

With the widespread adoption of multi-channel MRI systems using parallel imaging, the design and optimization of receive coil arrays has become imperative, but far more complex. Coil optimization techniques and performance verification are essential steps for designing coil arrays. The combined NRC-SPEAG software platform provides coil designers with the advanced tools needed to analyze, predict and simulate array elements.


SEMCAD X and MusaikTM complement each other, as the output of SEMCAD X software forms the input to NRC’s MusaikTM analysis software. NRC’s software can also accept experimental data as input, or both simulated and experimental data, allowing for extra functionality.

Three versions of Musaik™ are offered:

Musaik™ S - accepts simulated data in SEMCAD X proprietary output format
Musaik™ E - accepts experimental data in any of several formats, each unique to a particular brand of MRI scanner
Musaik™ Plus - accepts both simulated and experimental data and allows comparison.

Musaik™ enables the user to evaluate simulated array coil designs and assess their parallel imaging capabilities. Equivalent analysis is available for experimentally obtained raw data, allowing accurate design verification for a range of different design processes or to evaluate simulation model fidelity.

Musaik™ provides many different view options for simulated data such as phase analysis, transmit/receive coil functionality and thresholding a desired region of interest (ROI) for region specific performance analysis or small field-of-view (FOV) computations. Musaik™ will compute 2D g-factor maps using any integer reduction mathematically allowed with either simulated or experimental data.

Full, complex noise covariance matrices are computed within Musaik™, minimizing users’ technical knowledge requirements. This data can be easily used to assess coil isolation during construction troubleshooting. Many different experimental raw data formats are supported.

SEMCAD X is the latest generation of 3-D Finite Difference Time-Domain (FDTD) & Finite Integration Technique (FIT) full-wave simulation software offering unprecedented levels of user-friendliness, speed & memory efficiency. Its application range has been greatly extended by, e.g., effective genetic algorithms (GA) optimization of parameterized computer aided design (CAD) derived structures and superior speed (>50x faster than others). Unique enhancements to the graphics user interface (GUI), including the ACIS® CAD modeler and the ultra-fast OpenGL renderer, allow the analysis and design of real-world configurations without any compromise.

SEMCAD X supports MRI applications such as coil optimization and medical implant evaluations. Its novel and fast thermal solver supports tensorial blood flow models, discrete blood vessel trees and temperature dependent tissue parameters to accurately determine temperature changes and tissue damages. In addition, SEMCAD X provides the largest library of high-resolution 3D CAD based anatomical human and animal phantoms.

Schmid & Partner Engineering AG (SPEAG) of Zurich, Switzerland, is the leading developer and manufacturer of the most reliable, efficient, user-friendly and advanced experimental and numerical tools for the electromagnetic near- and far-fields from DC to light. For more information, please visit

Recognized globally for research and innovation, Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) is a leader in the development of an innovative, knowledge-based economy for Canada through science and technology. For more information, please visit


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