To successfully diagnose diseases such as cancer, the medical community needs imaging technologies that give high-contrast, detail-rich views of the inner workings of the human body. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a game-changing medical imaging technique that gives unprecedented levels of clarity, especially when scanning soft tissue such as the brain or muscles. And unlike traditional X-rays, MRIs do not expose the patient to radiation.
To work reliably, however, MRIs require a continuous supply of a cryogenic product to cool the magnetic coils in the scanners. This gives the coils superconductive properties. As a result, an electrical current can flow through the coils without resistance, thus enabling the creation of high intensity magnetic fields. Liquid helium is the only medium cold enough to promote superconductivity in metals.
Messer also has a full line of cGMP medical imaging gases including 3He or 129Xe for hyperpolarized MRI research gases,
Another challenge for the imaging business is uptime. Given the high up-front investment and operational costs of MRI equipment, hospitals are keen to minimize refill windows and keep downtime to an absolute minimum.