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Pulse Sequence Timing DiagramInfoSheet: - Sequences - 
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Spin Echo Timing Diagram The schematic figures of a pulse sequence timing diagram illustrate the steps of basic hardware activity that are incorporated into a pulse sequence. Time during sequence execution is indicated along the horizontal axes. Each line belongs to a different hardware component. One line is needed for the radio frequency transmitter and also one for each gradient (Gs = slice selection gradient x, Gf = phase encoding gradient y, Gf = frequency encoding gradient z, also called readout gradient).
In picture 1, a timing diagram for a 2D pulse sequence is shown.
Slice selection and signal detection are repeated in duration, relative timing and amplitude, each time the sequence is repeated. A single phase encoding component is present each time the sequence is executed.
Additional lines are added for ADC (Analog to Digital Converter) and sampling. A gradient pulse is shown as a deviation above or below the horizontal line. Simultaneous component activities such as the RF pulse and slice selection gradient are indicated as a non-zero deviation from both lines at the same horizontal position. Simple deviations from zero show constant amplitude gradient pulse. Gradient amplitudes that change during the measurement, e.g. phase encoding are represented as hatched regions.
Spin Echo Timing Diagram The second picture shows a timing diagram for a 3D pulse sequence.
Volume excitation and signal detection are repeated in duration, relative timing and amplitude, each time the sequence is repeated. Two phase encoding components are present, one in the phase encoding direction and the other in slice selection direction (irrespectively incremented in amplitude) in each time the sequence is executed. A description of the comparison of hardware activity between different pulse sequences.
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Echo Planar ImagingInfoSheet: - Sequences - 
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Echo Planar Imaging Timing Diagram

(EPI) Echo planar imaging is one of the early magnetic resonance imaging sequences (also known as Intascan), used in applications like diffusion, perfusion, and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Other sequences acquire one k-space line at each phase encoding step. When the echo planar imaging acquisition strategy is used, the complete image is formed from a single data sample (all k-space lines are measured in one repetition time) of a gradient echo or spin echo sequence (see single shot technique) with an acquisition time of about 20 to 100 ms. The pulse sequence timing diagram illustrates an echo planar imaging sequence from spin echo type with eight echo train pulses. (See also Pulse Sequence Timing Diagram, for a description of the components.)
In case of a gradient echo based EPI sequence the initial part is very similar to a standard gradient echo sequence. By periodically fast reversing the readout or frequency encoding gradient, a train of echoes is generated.
EPI requires higher performance from the MRI scanner like much larger gradient amplitudes. The scan time is dependent on the spatial resolution required, the strength of the applied gradient fields and the time the machine needs to ramp the gradients.
In EPI, there is water fat shift in the phase encoding direction due to phase accumulations. To minimize water fat shift (WFS) in the phase direction fat suppression and a wide bandwidth (BW) are selected. On a typical EPI sequence, there is virtually no time at all for the flat top of the gradient waveform. The problem is solved by "ramp sampling" through most of the rise and fall time to improve image resolution.
The benefits of the fast imaging time are not without cost. EPI is relatively demanding on the scanner hardware, in particular on gradient strengths, gradient switching times, and receiver bandwidth. In addition, EPI is extremely sensitive to image artifacts and distortions.

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New Imaging Method Makes Brain Scans 7 Times Faster
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Gradient Echo SequenceForum -
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Gradient Echo Sequence Timing Diagram (GRE - sequence) A gradient echo is generated by using a pair of bipolar gradient pulses. In the pulse sequence timing diagram, the basic gradient echo sequence is illustrated. There is no refocusing 180 pulse and the data are sampled during a gradient echo, which is achieved by dephasing the spins with a negatively pulsed gradient before they are rephased by an opposite gradient with opposite polarity to generate the echo.
See also the Pulse Sequence Timing Diagram. There you will find a description of the components.
The excitation pulse is termed the alpha pulse a. It tilts the magnetization by a flip angle a, which is typically between 0 and 90. With a small flip angle there is a reduction in the value of transverse magnetization that will affect subsequent RF pulses. The flip angle can also be slowly increased during data acquisition (variable flip angle: tilt optimized nonsaturation excitation). The data are not acquired in a steady state, where z-magnetization recovery and destruction by ad-pulses are balanced. However, the z-magnetization is used up by tilting a little more of the remaining z-magnetization into the xy-plane for each acquired imaging line.
Gradient echo imaging is typically accomplished by examining the FID, whereas the read gradient is turned on for localization of the signal in the readout direction. T2* is the characteristic decay time constant associated with the FID. The contrast and signal generated by a gradient echo depend on the size of the longitudinal magnetization and the flip angle. When a = 90 the sequence is identical to the so-called partial saturation or saturation recovery pulse sequence. In standard GRE imaging, this basic pulse sequence is repeated as many times as image lines have to be acquired. Additional gradients or radio frequency pulses are introduced with the aim to spoil to refocus the xy-magnetization at the moment when the spin system is subject to the next a pulse.
As a result of the short repetition time, the z-magnetization cannot fully recover and after a few initial a pulses there is an equilibrium established between z-magnetization recovery and z-magnetization reduction due to the a pulses.
Gradient echoes have a lower SAR, are more sensitive to field inhomogeneities and have a reduced crosstalk, so that a small or no slice gap can be used. In or out of phase imaging depending on the selected TE (and field strength of the magnet) is possible. As the flip angle is decreased, T1 weighting can be maintained by reducing the TR. T2* weighting can be minimized by keeping the TE as short as possible, but pure T2 weighting is not possible. By using a reduced flip angle, some of the magnetization value remains longitudinal (less time needed to achieve full recovery) and for a certain T1 and TR, there exist one flip angle that will give the most signal, known as the "Ernst angle".
Contrast values:
PD weighted: Small flip angle (no T1), long TR (no T1) and short TE (no T2*)
T1 weighted: Large flip angle (70), short TR (less than 50ms) and short TE
T2* weighted: Small flip angle, some longer TR (100 ms) and long TE (20 ms)

Classification of GRE sequences can be made into four categories:
T1 weighted or incoherent/(RF or gradient) spoiled GRE sequences
T1/T2* weighted or coherent//refocused GRE sequences
T2 weighted contrast enhanced GRE sequences
ultrafast GRE sequences
See also Gradient Recalled Echo Sequence, Spoiled Gradient Echo Sequence, Refocused Gradient Echo Sequence, Ultrafast Gradient Echo Sequence.
 
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Inversion Recovery SequenceForum -
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Inversion Recovery Sequence Timing Diagram (IR) The inversion recovery pulse sequence produces signals, which represent the longitudinal magnetization existing after the application of a 180 radio frequency pulse that rotates the magnetization Mz into the negative plane. After an inversion time (TI - time between the starting 180 pulse and the following 90 pulse), a further 90 RF pulse tilts some or all of the z-magnetization into the xy-plane, where the signal is usually rephased with a 180 pulse as in the spin echo sequence. During the initial time period, various tissues relax with their intrinsic T1 relaxation time.
In the pulse sequence timing diagram, the basic inversion recovery sequence is illustrated. The 180 inversion pulse is attached prior to the 90 excitation pulse of a spin echo acquisition. See also the Pulse Sequence Timing Diagram. There you will find a description of the components.
The inversion recovery sequence has the advantage, that it can provide very strong contrast between tissues having different T1 relaxation times or to suppress tissues like fluid or fat. But the disadvantage is, that the additional inversion radio frequency RF pulse makes this sequence less time efficient than the other pulse sequences.

Contrast values:
PD weighted: TE: 10-20 ms, TR: 2000 ms, TI: 1800 ms
T1 weighted: TE: 10-20 ms, TR: 2000 ms, TI: 400-800 ms
T2 weighted: TE: 70 ms, TR: 2000 ms, TI: 400-800 ms

See also Inversion Recovery, Short T1 Inversion Recovery, Fluid Attenuation Inversion Recovery, and Acronyms for 'Inversion Recovery Sequence' from different manufacturers.
 
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Further Reading:
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The equation for a repeated inversion recovery sequence
Contrast mechanisms in magnetic resonance imaging
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Spin Echo SequenceInfoSheet: - Sequences - 
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Spin Echo Timing Diagram (SE) The most common pulse sequence used in MR imaging is based of the detection of a spin or Hahn echo. It uses 90 radio frequency pulses to excite the magnetization and one or more 180 pulses to refocus the spins to generate signal echoes named spin echoes (SE).
In the pulse sequence timing diagram, the simplest form of a spin echo sequence is illustrated.
The 90 excitation pulse rotates the longitudinal magnetization (Mz) into the xy-plane and the dephasing of the transverse magnetization (Mxy) starts.
The following application of a 180 refocusing pulse (rotates the magnetization in the x-plane) generates signal echoes. The purpose of the 180 pulse is to rephase the spins, causing them to regain coherence and thereby to recover transverse magnetization, producing a spin echo.
The recovery of the z-magnetization occurs with the T1 relaxation time and typically at a much slower rate than the T2-decay, because in general T1 is greater than T2 for living tissues and is in the range of 1002000 ms.
The SE pulse sequence was devised in the early days of NMR days by Carr and Purcell and exists now in many forms: the multi echo pulse sequence using single or multislice acquisition, the fast spin echo (FSE/TSE) pulse sequence, echo planar imaging (EPI) pulse sequence and the gradient and spin echo (GRASE) pulse sequence;; all are basically spin echo sequences.
In the simplest form of SE imaging, the pulse sequence has to be repeated as many times as the image has lines.
Contrast values:
PD weighted: Short TE (20 ms) and long TR.
T1 weighted: Short TE (10-20 ms) and short TR (300-600 ms)
T2 weighted: Long TE (greater than 60 ms) and long TR (greater than 1600 ms)
With spin echo imaging no T2* occurs, caused by the 180 refocusing pulse. For this reason, spin echo sequences are more robust against e.g., susceptibility artifacts than gradient echo sequences.
See also Pulse Sequence Timing Diagram to find a description of the components.
 
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Further Reading:
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Fast Spin Echo(.pdf)
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