A Short History of the MRI Machine

Felix Bloch created technology that would later aid in the creation of the MRI Machine.
Felix Bloch


A Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine, better known as an MRI, has a long and complicated history, beginning in 1945. It all started when Swiss physicist named Felix Bloch conducted an experiment regarding a new method of nuclear induction, a study of nuclear moments in solids, liquids, or gases.



E. M. Purcell, MRI machine
E. M. Purcell

It was by pure chance, that at this same exact time, the same experiment had been made by Edward Mills Purcell and his collaborators at Harvard University. E.M. Purcell was a Illinois native with a degree in electrical engineering , and together both Purcell and Bloch won the 1952 Nobel Prize for Physics for their published papers on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR,) which is the science behind the MRI.


The MRI uses NMR to produce 2D images. This process was discovered by Paul Lauterber and Peter Mansfield through their experiments imaging water, green peppers, and fingers of a research student in 1976.


lauterber and mansfield, creators of the MRI machine
Paul Mansfield (left,) and Paul Lauterber (right.)


A year later, Raymond Damadian created the first full body MRI machine, and the first MRI body exam was operated on a human. It took almost five hours to produce one image.


Raymond Damadian was not given due credit for his help in creating the MRI machine.
Raymond Damadian

In the years following the first MRI machine full body exam, technology has come a long way. The machine uses magnetic fields to scan the patient, and then sends the signals back to be converted into images by a computer. Today, an MRI scan can take anywhere from 10 minutes to over 2 hours, depending on the size of the area being scanned.


Due to the efforts of these physicists and chemists, we now have the technology to diagnose a variety of disorders, such as strokes, tumors, aneurysms, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis and eye or inner ear problems.


The first MRI scan. MRI machine
The first MRI scan.


If you are looking into purchasing a used and refurbished MRI machine for your practice, Amber DiagnosticsMRI machine experts can help you with any questions you may have. We will be able to walk you through the entire process. Feel free to give us a call at 407-438-7847.



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At Amber Diagnostics, our highly trained professionals have been refurbishing used imaging equipment since 1994. We can customize any system to your liking, according to your financial budget and technical requirements; and you can be sure that Amber is more than capable of handling every question you may have in your purchasing process. From buying, to planning, shipping, installation, and technical service, Amber has you covered.

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