Design, Construction, and Implementation of a Magnetic Resonance Elastography Actuator for Research Purposes

Emily Rose Triolo, Oleksandr Khegai, Efe Ozkaya, Nicholas Rossi, Akbar Alipour, Lazar Fleysher, Priti Balchandani, Mehmet Kurt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) is a technique for determining the mechanical response of soft materials using applied harmonic deformation of the material and a motion-sensitive magnetic resonance imaging sequence. This technique can elucidate significant information about the health and development of human tissue such as liver and brain, and has been used on phantom models (e.g., agar, silicone) to determine their suitability for use as a mechanical surrogate for human tissues in experimental models. The applied harmonic deformation used in MRE is generated by an actuator, transmitted in bursts of a specified duration, and synchronized with the magnetic resonance signal excitation. These actuators are most often a pneumatic design (common for human tissues or phantoms) or a piezoelectric design (common for small animal tissues or phantoms). Here, we describe how to design and assemble both a pneumatic and a piezoelectric MRE actuator for research purposes. For each of these actuator types, we discuss displacement requirements, end-effector options and challenges, electronics and electronic-driving requirements and considerations, and full MRE implementation. We also discuss how to choose the actuator type, size, and power based on the intended material and use.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere379
JournalCurrent Protocols
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • MRE
  • MRI
  • biomechanics
  • magnetic resonance elastography
  • magnetic resonance imaging


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