A group of researchers from Russia, Australia, and the Netherlands have developed a technology that reduces Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanning times by more than fifty percent. The new device allows hospitals to increase the number of scans without changing equipment.

By placing a specially designed metamaterial under the studied object in an MRI scanner, it is possible to increase the signal-to-noise ratio in the scanned area. A higher resolution image can therefore be obtained over the same time period, or faster examination can be performed with the same resolution as in an ordinary MRI scanner.

In addition, the metamaterial suppresses the electric field, which is responsible for tissue heating - a phenomenon that may compromise the safety of the MRI procedure.

The solution does not require intervention into the MRI's hardware; the researchers consider the technology to be an inexpensive functional add-on device that can be used with any existing MRI machine.