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Dephasing Gradient
 
Magnetic field gradient pulse used to create spatial variation of phase of transverse magnetization. For example, it may be applied prior to signal detection in the presence of a magnetic field gradient with opposite polarity (or of the same polarity if separated by a refocusing RF pulse) so that the resulting gradient echo signal will represent a more complete sampling of the Fourier transformation of the desired image.
See also Spoiler Gradient Pulse.
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Gradient Recalled Echo SequenceInfoSheet: - Sequences - 
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The gradient recalled echo MRI sequence generates gradient echoes as a consequence of echo refocusing. The initial slice selective RF pulse applied to the tissue is less than 90° (typically rotation angles are between 10° and 90°). Immediately after this RF pulse, the spins begin to dephase.
Instead of a refocusing 180° RF pulse, reversing the gradient polarity produces a gradient echo. A negative phase encoding gradient and a dephasing frequency encoding gradient are used simultaneous. The switch on of the frequency encoding gradient produces an echo caused by refocusing of the dephasing, which is caused by the dephasing gradient.
TR and flip angle together control the T1, and TE control T2* weighting.
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Partial Echo
 
(PE) The partial echo technique (also called fractional echo) is used to shorten the minimum echo time. By the acquisition of only a part of k-space data this technique benefits (like all partial Fourier techniques) from the complex conjugate symmetry between the k-space halves (this is called Hermitian symmetry).
The dephasing gradient in the frequency direction is reduced, and the duration of the readout gradient and the data acquisition window are shortened. Partial echo gives a better SNR at a given TE when a smaller FOV or thinner slices are selected, allows a longer sampling time, and a larger water fat shift (WFS, see also bandwidth) due to a lower gradient amplitude. The resolution is not affected. This is often used in gradient echo sequences (e.g. FLASH, Contrast Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Angiography) to reduce the echo time and yields a lower gradient moment. The disadvantage of using a partial echo can be a lower SNR, although this may be partly offset by the reduced echo time.
Also called Fractional Echo, Read Conjugate Symmetry, Single Side View.
See also Partial Fourier Technique and acronyms for 'partial echo' from different manufacturers.
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Partial Fourier Technique
 
The partial Fourier technique is a modification of the Fourier transformation imaging method used in MRI in which the symmetry of the raw data in k-space is used to reduce the data acquisition time by acquiring only a part of k-space data.
The symmetry in k-space is a basic property of Fourier transformation and is called Hermitian symmetry. Thus, for the case of a real valued function g, the data on one half of k-space can be used to generate the data on the other half.
Utilization of this symmetry to reduce the acquisition time depends on whether the MRI problem obeys the assumption made above, i.e. that the function being characterized is real.
The function imaged in MRI is the distribution of transverse magnetization Mxy, which is a vector quantity having a magnitude, and a direction in the transverse plane. A convenient mathematical notation is to use a complex number to denote a vector quantity such as the transverse magnetization, by assigning the x'-component of the magnetization to the real part of the number and the y'-component to the imaginary part. (Sometimes, this mathematical convenience is stretched somewhat, and the magnetization is described as having a real component and an imaginary component. Physically, the x' and y' components of Mxy are equally 'real' in the tangible sense.)
Thus, from the known symmetry properties for the Fourier transformation of a real valued function, if the transverse magnetization is entirely in the x'-component (i.e. the y'-component is zero), then an image can be formed from the data for only half of k-space (ignoring the effects of the imaging gradients, e.g. the readout- and phase encoding gradients).
The conditions under which Hermitian symmetry holds and the corrections that must be applied when the assumption is not strictly obeyed must be considered.
There are a variety of factors that can change the phase of the transverse magnetization:
Off resonance (e.g. chemical shift and magnetic field inhomogeneity cause local phase shifts in gradient echo pulse sequences. This is less of a problem in spin echo pulse sequences.
Flow and motion in the presence of gradients also cause phase shifts.
Effects of the radio frequency RF pulses can also cause phase shifts in the image, especially when different coils are used to transmit and receive.
Only, if one can assume that the phase shifts are slowly varying across the object (i.e. not completely independent in each pixel) significant benefits can still be obtained. To avoid problems due to slowly varying phase shifts in the object, more than one half of k-space must be covered. Thus, both sides of k-space are measured in a low spatial frequency range while at higher frequencies they are measured only on one side. The fully sampled low frequency portion is used to characterize (and correct for) the slowly varying phase shifts.
Several reconstruction algorithms are available to achieve this. The size of the fully sampled region is dependent on the spatial frequency content of the phase shifts. The partial Fourier method can be employed to reduce the number of phase encoding values used and therefore to reduce the scan time. This method is sometimes called half-NEX, 3/4-NEX imaging, etc. (NEX/NSA). The scan time reduction comes at the expense of signal to noise ratio (SNR).
Partial k-space coverage is also useable in the readout direction. To accomplish this, the dephasing gradient in the readout direction is reduced, and the duration of the readout gradient and the data acquisition window are shortened.
This is often used in gradient echo imaging to reduce the echo time (TE). The benefit is at the expense in SNR, although this may be partly offset by the reduced echo time. Partial Fourier imaging should not be used when phase information is eligible, as in phase contrast angiography.
See also acronyms for 'partial Fourier techniques' from different manufacturers.
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Radio Frequency Pulse
 
A pulse is a rapid change in the amplitude of a RF signal or in some characteristic a RF signal, e.g., phase or frequency, from a baseline value to a higher or lower value, followed by a rapid return to the baseline value. For radio frequencies near the Larmor frequency, it will result in rotation of the macroscopic magnetization vector. The amount of rotation will depend on the strength and duration of the RF pulse; commonly used examples are 90° (p/2) and 180° (p) pulses.
RF pulses are used in the spin preparation phase of a pulse sequence, which prepare the spin system for the ensuing measurements. In many sequences, RF pulses are also applied to the volumes outside the one to be measured. This is the case when spatial presaturation techniques are used to suppress artifacts. Many preparation pulses are required in MR spectroscopy to suppress signal from unwanted spins. The simplest preparation pulse making use of spectroscopic properties is a fat saturation pulse, which specifically irradiates the patient at the fat resonant frequency, so that the magnetization coming from fat protons is tilted into the xy-plane where it is subsequently destroyed by a strong dephasing gradient.
The frequency spectrum of RF pulses is critical as it determines the spatial extension and homogeneity over which the spin magnetization is influenced while a gradient field is applied.
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