- Open Access
Simultaneous suppression of disturbing fields and localization of magnetic markers by means of multipole expansion
© Hilgenfeld and Haueisen; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2004
Received: 14 July 2004
Accepted: 01 September 2004
Published: 01 September 2004
Magnetically marked capsules serve for the analysis of peristalsis and throughput times within the intestinal tract. Moreover, they can be used for the targeted disposal of drugs. The capsules get localized in time by field measurements with a superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) magnetometer array. Here it is important to ensure an online localization with high speed and high suppression of disturbing fields. In this article we use multipole expansions for the simultaneous localization and suppression of disturbing fields.
We expand the measurement data in terms of inner and outer multipoles. Thereby we obtain directly a separation of marker field and outer disturbing fields. From the inner dipoles and quadrupoles we compute the magnetization and position of the capsule. The outer multipoles get eliminated.
The localization goodness has been analyzed depending on the order of the multipoles used and depending on the systems noise level. We found upper limits of the noise level for the usage of certain multipole moments. Given a signal to noise ratio of 40 and utilizing inner dipoles and quadrupoles and outer dipoles, the method enables an accuracy of 5 mm with a speed of 10 localizations per second.
The multipole localization is an effective method and is capable of online-tracking magnetic markers.
The transport of capsules in the alimentary tract underlies complex influencing factors like the patients peristalsis, the hydration and the form and size of the capsules. A procedure which allows the instantaneous localization of the capsules supports a number of patient examinations as well as examinations of new drug forms [1–4]. Capsules can be marked radioactively (scintigraphy) or magnetically. The scintigraphy  has a lower time resolution compared to the magnetic localization, and due to radiation it is not appropriate for examinations with healthy probands.
The localization of magnetically marked capsules (magnetic markers) must be spatially accurate and with high temporal resolution. For the spatial localization the marker field must be separated from the external magnetic disturbing fields. This separation can be achieved by splitting the magnetic field in multipole moments . The method proposed utilizes the multipole moments directly for the determination of the position and the magnetic moment of the marker. Thus, the separation of disturbing fields and the localization are integrated numerically effective into one procedure. This allows a fast online-localization of the marker capsules.
Marking of capsules and pills takes place by partially filling them with black iron oxide (Fe3O4) which is subsequently magnetized up to saturation. The magnetic field measurement is performed within magnetically shielded rooms by the use of highly sensitive SQUID arrays. For the investigation at hand we conduct simulation runs to determine the performance of the multipole localization.
The field of a magnetic marker located adjacent to the point of origin can be expressed by a multipole expansion in Cartesian coordinates (x1, x2, x3). If the distance between marker and origin is small compared to the distance between a magnetic sensor and the origin, the field of the marker at the sensor position is given by the first elements of the multipole expansion. With the notation
with cm being the dipole, quadrupole and octopole moments of the field expansion.
We denote the multipole moments cex of the expansion of fields of external sources as "outer moments" to distinguish them from the "inner moments" cm.
The summation of equation (1) and equation (6) yields the field expansion for a magnetic marker with disturbing fields. We truncate this expansion after the octopole terms, and transcript it into a linear equation system for the determination of equivalent multipole moments c for a measurement Bmeas:
The structure of the vectors Bmeas and c and the matrix F is given below in the formulas (15...24). The residuals 0(·) are sufficiently small, if the coordinates of the marker are small compared to the coordinates of the field sensors , and if the coordinates of the field sensors are small compared to the coordinates of the external disturbing field sources .
The matrix F is built from the linearly independent form functions for inner and outer field sources given in equation (13). Their scalar product with the sensor normal directions yields one row for every sensor:
The number of columns of F is the sum of the numbers of inner and outer field functions used. Each column describes the field of one specific magnetic moment with unit strength measured by the sensor system. The Matrix F is called the forward matrix of all moments considered. The Matrix F is structured into submatrices for different moments:
The vector of multipole moments c is composed of inner and outer dipole moments cd, quadrupole moments cq and octopole moments co:
With the Taylor series expansion
follows in analogy to equation (1)
A comparison of coefficients of (1) and (27) yields
This equation system is named shift equation in analogy to . It is overdetermined, and can be solved by means of the pseudo inverse of m.
We get the multipole moments c, which are required for the localization of the marker dipole, from solving the overdetermined equation system (14) by means of the pseudo inverse of F:
c = (FT·F)-1·FT·Bmeas. (33)
Iterative dipole localization for a fixed dipole (e.g. one time point) is achieved by using the localization position as a new point of origin. The step length of the last localization step serves as a stop criterion for the iterative localization procedure. This is justified by considering the residuals of equation (14) within the convergence range of the procedure, and will practically be shown by the results of the following simulations.
The measurement system is positioned within a magnetically shielded room, consisting of 3 highly permeable shieldings and one eddy current shielding. The shielding performance is 38 db at 1 Hz, 55 db at Hz and 80 db at 20 Hz.
The sensor arrangement in orthogonal triplets facilitates the measurement of all 3 spatial components of the magnetic field. Thus, the required field coverage for the localization of a magnetic marker with unknown dipole strength is achieved.
The subdivision into 168 measurement and 27 reference sensors is meant for the creation of software gradiometers. We can use all sensors simultaneously for the multipole method which integrates the suppression of disturbing fields.
With the above described measurement system we performed simulations with different signal to noise ratios.
We examined the localization characteristics of the multipole method by means of simulation runs at the sensor geometry of the measurement system Argos 200 (Fig. 2). All simulations performed are based on a dipole at position (x, y, z) = (0, 0, -300 mm), i.e. 30 cm below the measurement plane, with a dipole strength of 20 Amm2. This is a realistic dipole position for an examination within the digestive tract. The dipole field was superimposed by uncorrelated, Gauss distributed noise. The noise level in fT is also given as signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR), based on the channel with the strongest amplitude of the dipole field.
The localization was run up to a stable point. We define the localization error as the mean quadratic error of the 100 stable points based on the true dipole position. The localization error increases if we use higher order multipole moments. This holds true for the inner moments cm and for the outer moments cex as well. As a good approximation the interrelationship between noise level and localization error is linear, with raising proportionality factor for higher mode numbers. This corresponds to parallel translation of the curves in double logarithmic plotting.
The computing time used for one localization step is 5 ms with an implementation in Matlab at a standard Windows PC with a 2 GHz clock frequency. With maximum 3 iterations per localization step and additional computing time needed for data transfer and a basic visualization, 10 localizations per second are possible. This rate is normally sufficient for marker localizations.
The outer moments cex used enlarge the localization error depending on the uncorrelated sensor noise, as shown in Fig. 3. Contrary, the localization error depending on the spatially correlated residual field within the measurement room lowers when using outer moments. Depending on the ratio between correlated and uncorrelated noise which has to be found with practical test series, noise suppression of homogeneous disturbing fields using and possibly noise suppression of gradient fields using are applicable. To ensure convergence, the starting point for the algorithm has to be within the convergence radius given in Fig. 4. With typical measurement conditions, thus, a starting point 10 cm below the center of the measurement system will suffice.
The multipole localization is an effective algorithm because it unites a method for the suppression of disturbing fields with a localization method. It can be used iteratively and online for the tracking of magnetic marker timelines within the intestinal tract.
This work has been partially supported by the joint research project "MagMon/NET0158" within the "InnoNet" program of the German Federal Government Department of Research (BMWA).
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