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Magneto-Caloric Materials for MRI

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Human HealthReagents
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Magneto-Caloric Materials for MRI

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About the Innovation

This technology is a non-gadolinium-based contrast material for use in MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans. Contrast material is injected into the patient to help visualize physiological structures and support the interpretation of images. Contrast materials in use today are only weakly influenced by magnetic and temperature changes in typical MRI magnetic fields. This novel contrast material is magneto-caloric, susceptible to sharp phase change at a range of direct current (DC) magnetic field values around physiological relevant temperatures. In addition, the contrast is tunable and switchable, allowing the materials to be visible or invisible with small temperature and magnetic changes. 

Video 1. Switchable labels in action


  • Non-gadolinium-based - Alternative to gadolinium contrast which has safety concerns.
  • Suitable for expanded patient populations -  The novel contrast can be used in patients for which gadolinium contrast is contraindicated, such as for patients with kidney function deficiency. 
  • Switchable visibility - The contrast material can appear and disappear from the field of view of the scan with the application of a magnetic current.
  • Tunable contrast - The contrast material can be tuned to perform at specific magnetic fields or temperatures by adjusting the material purity and manufacturing processes, such as doping and annealing.


  • Temperature-detecting contrast agent alternative to gadolinium
  • Temperature-modifying contrast agent alternative to gadolinium
  • Medication delivery vehicle for targeted cell therapy

Video 2. Actuator function

Video 3. Reversible contrast


Intellectual Property:

Temperature Actuation: WO2018187477A1, US20180292479A1

Temperature Sensing: US20180292478A1


The technology is available for commercial license and development.

For inquiries, please reference:

Janelia 2017-027

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Temperature‐dependent MRI images of magnetocaloric FeRh at 4.7T. A‐F, Representative gradient‐echo images through the center of the 99.9% purity FeRh 1‐mm3 disk at various temperatures as the sample is heated and then cooled.
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Michael Perham
Director, Innovations and External Relations
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