Peter Mansfield invented echo-planar imaging (EPI), the first fast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique. EPI provides precise images of the brain and other internal organs, replacing invasive methods of examination and reducing the risk and discomfort for many patients. More than 60 million cases are evaluated with MRI each year.
Working at the University of Nottingham in England, Mansfield proposed a method for creating clearer images using a unique field gradient scheme and developed mathematical techniques for capturing, analyzing, and processing MR signals more efficiently. This led him to conceive EPI, which produced quicker, higher quality MR images. Less sensitive to motion than conventional MRI, EPI allows imaging of rapidly changing physiologic processes such as a beating heart or blood flow. Consequently, the EPI technique is used to watch brain activity and cardiac function in real time. Its superior imaging techniques have dramatically improved diagnostics in many diseases.
Born in England, Mansfield earned his Ph.D. from the University of London's Queen Mary College in 1962. He was knighted in 1993 and received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his contributions to magnetic resonance imaging in 2003.