A heterogeneous human tissue mimicking phantom for RF heating and MRI thermal monitoring verification

Yu Yuan, Cory Wyatt, Paolo MacCarini, Paul Stauffer, Oana Craciunescu, James MacFall, Mark Dewhirst, Shiva K. Das

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


This paper describes a heterogeneous phantom that mimics a human thigh with a deep-seated tumor, for the purpose of studying the performance of radiofrequency (RF) heating equipment and non-invasive temperature monitoring with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The heterogeneous cylindrical phantom was constructed with an outer fat layer surrounding an inner core of phantom material mimicking muscle, tumor and marrow-filled bone. The component materials were formulated to have dielectric and thermal properties similar to human tissues. The dielectric properties of the tissue mimicking phantom materials were measured with a microwave vector network analyzer and impedance probe over the frequency range of 80500 MHz and at temperatures of 24, 37 and 45 °C. The specific heat values of the component materials were measured using a differential scanning calorimeter over the temperature range of 1555 °C. The thermal conductivity value was obtained from fitting the curves obtained from one-dimensional heat transfer measurement. The phantom was used to verify the operation of a cylindrical four-antenna annular phased array extremity applicator (140 MHz) by examining the proton resonance frequency shift (PRFS) thermal imaging patterns for various magnitude/phase settings (including settings to focus heating in tumors). For muscle and tumor materials, MRI was also used to measure T1/T2* values (1.5 T) and to obtain the slope of the PRFS phase change versus temperature change curve. The dielectric and thermal properties of the phantom materials were in close agreement to well-accepted published results for human tissues. The phantom was able to successfully demonstrate satisfactory operation of the tested heating equipment. The MRI-measured thermal distributions matched the expected patterns for various magnitude/phase settings of the applicator, allowing the phantom to be used as a quality assurance tool. Importantly, the material formulations for the various tissue types may be used to construct customized phantoms that are tailored for different anatomical sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2021-2037
Number of pages17
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 7 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'A heterogeneous human tissue mimicking phantom for RF heating and MRI thermal monitoring verification'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this