- Posted by doEEEt Media Group
- On August 3, 2020
Trimmer capacitors are variable components used to calibrate RF circuits during manufacturing or servicing. These components allow for variable tuning–think oscillator frequency values or rise and fall times. Should values drift over the life of the device, trimmer capacitors can be recalibrated as needed.
For sensitive applications like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), these components help to optimise performance where any instability in time or temperature could impact the image output.
In essence, when a patient is positioned inside an MRI scanner tube, and a magnetic field is applied, the proton spins inside their body’s molecules line up, facing the same direction. When a short, computer-generated RF signal is applied to a proton in the uniform field, it’s “nudged” to break formation. After the interruption, protons return to their original state of alignment. In the process of realigning, energy is emitted; the emitted energy can be measured and used to identify different types of molecules and their locations in the body. Trimmer capacitors are used to tune the TX and RX coils to Lamor Frequency, the frequency at which this energy is emitted. By extension, trimmer capacitor tuning is pivotal in MRI imaging accuracy.
To meet the high demand for MRI, important considerations for trimmer capacitor selection include:
MRI components face severe non-magnetism requirements across components. In addition to careful material choices, Voltronics, a brand of Knowles Precision Devices (KPD), has developed a unique test setup to allow for Q and RF Voltage breakdown measurement at MRI operational frequencies. This has allowed for the development of parts designed specifically to meet the strict MRI requirements.
KPD is a leader in the design and manufacture of precision trimmer capacitors through our brands Voltronics and Johanson Manufacturing. The KPD trimmers portfolio includes air, glass, sapphire, and PTFE dielectrics that can be used from 1 MHz to over 2 GHz and at voltages up to 20,000 VDC. These trimmers are available in precision multi-turn and half-turn formats to accommodate any level of application demand.
featured image: multi-turn trimmer capacitor; source: Knowles Precision Devices