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The Iseult project magnet being installed at Neurospin (CEA Paris-Saclay) reached a nominal magnetic field of 11.7 teslas (T) on July 18, 2019. This is a world record for a whole-body magnetic resonance imager (MRI) magnet, the culmination of years of R&D and at the forefront of innovation in the field of superconducting magnets. Over the coming months, the equipment required for neuroimaging will be installed around the magnet and in its central tube to create a human MRI scanner capable of examining the brain more accurately than ever before, in the interest of fundamental research, cognitive sciences and diagnosing neurodegenerative diseases.
Neuroscientists wanted to acquire an 11.7-tesla MRI scanner in order to examine the human brain with an observation quality never before achieved, whether in terms of spatial or temporal resolution, or in terms of the accuracy of the images obtained. The Iseult project was started at the turn of the 21st century with the ambitious goal of developing a giant magnet (90-cm diameter opening) that could generate a magnetic field of 11.7 T. The project was jointly led by neuroscience researchers and CEA physicists specialized in magnets at the Institute of Research into the Fundamental Laws of the Universe (IRFU) and specialized in MRI at the Frédéric Joliot Institute for Life Sciences. The researchers and their partners, both academic and industrial, set out to design and manufacture the magnet, the core of the MRI scanner, which was delivered to Neurospin, on the CEA Paris-Saclay site, in May 2017.
The Iseult development is part of a larger Franco-German project initiated in 2006. It is the fruit of collaboration between:
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.