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Trimmer Capacitor Considerations in Practice

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 optimize 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

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