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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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Further Reading:
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Enhanced Fast GRadient Echo 3-Dimensional (efgre3D) or THRIVE
   by www.mri.tju.edu    
Imaging strategies for uncooperative patients
Sunday, 1 January 2017   by posterng.netkey.at    
  News & More:
MRI evaluation of fatty liver in day to day practice: Quantitative and qualitative methods
Wednesday, 3 September 2014   by www.sciencedirect.com    
T1rho-prepared balanced gradient echo for rapid 3D T1rho MRI
Monday, 1 September 2008   by www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov    
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Spoiled Gradient Echo SequenceInfoSheet: - Sequences - 
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Spoiled gradient echo sequences use a spoiler gradient on the slice select axis during the end module to destroy any remaining transverse magnetization after the readout gradient, which is the case for short repetition times.
As a result, only z-magnetization remains during a subsequent excitation. This types of sequences use semi-random changes in the phase of radio frequency pulses to produce a spatially independent phase shift.
Companies use different acronyms to describe certain techniques.
Different terms for these gradient echo pulse sequences:
CE-FFE-T1 Contrast Enhanced Fast Field Echo with T1 Weighting,
GFE Gradient Field Echo,
FLASH Fast Low Angle Shot,
PS Partial Saturation,
RF spoiled FAST RF Spoiled Fourier Acquired Steady State Technique,
RSSARGE Radio Frequency Spoiled Steady State Acquisition Rewound Gradient Echo
S-GRE Spoiled Gradient Echo,
SHORT Short Repetition Techniques,
SPGR Spoiled Gradient Recalled (spoiled GRASS),
STAGE T1W T1 weighted Small Tip Angle Gradient Echo,
T1-FAST T1 weighted Fourier Acquired Steady State Technique,
T1-FFE T1 weighted Fast Field Echo.
In this context, 'contrast enhanced' refers to the pulse sequence, it does not mean enhancement with a contrast agent.
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Further Reading:
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3-D VOLUMETRIC IMAGING FOR STEREOTACTIC LESIONAL AND DEEP BRAIN STIMULATION SURGERY
Cutting Edge Imaging of THE Spine
February 2007   by www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov    
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Refocused Gradient Echo SequenceInfoSheet: - Sequences - 
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Refocused GRE sequences use a refocusing gradient in the phase encoding direction during the end module to maximize (refocus) remaining xy- (transverse) magnetization at the time when the next excitation is due, while the other two gradients are, in any case, balanced.
When the next excitation pulse is sent into the system with an opposed phase, it tilts the magnetization in the a direction. As a result the z-magnetization is again partly tilted into the xy-plane, while the remaining xy-magnetization is tilted partly into the z-direction.
Companies use different acronyms to describe certain techniques.
Different terms for these gradient echo pulse sequences:
R-GRE Refocused Gradient Echo,
FAST Fourier Acquired Steady State,
FFE Fast Field echo,
FISP Fast Imaging with Steady State Precession,
F-SHORT SHORT Repetition Technique Based on Free Induction Decay,
GFEC Gradient Field Echo with Contrast,
GRASS Gradient Recalled Acquisition in Steady State,
ROAST Resonant Offset Averaging in the Steady State,
SSFP Steady State Free Precession.
STERF Steady State Technique with Refocused FID
In this context, 'contrast' refers to the pulse sequence, it does not mean enhancement with a contrast agent.
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Ultrafast Gradient Echo SequenceInfoSheet: - Sequences - 
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Ultrafast Gradient Echo Sequence Timing Diagram In simple ultrafast GRE imaging, TR and TE are so short, that tissues have a poor imaging signal and - more importantly - poor contrast except when contrast media enhanced (contrast enhanced angiography). Therefore, the magnetization is 'prepared' during the preparation module, most frequently by an initial 180° inversion pulse.
In the pulse sequence timing diagram, the basic ultrafast gradient echo sequence is illustrated. The 180° inversion pulse is executed one time (to the left of the vertical line), the right side represents the data collection period and is often repeated depending on the acquisition parameters.
See also Pulse Sequence Timing Diagram, there you will find a description of the components.
Ultrafast GRE sequences have a short TR,TE, a low flip angle and TR is so short that image acquisition lasts less than 1 second and typically less than 500 ms. Common TR: 3-5 msec, TE: 2 msec, and the flip angle is about 5°. Such sequences are often labeled with the prefix 'Turbo' like TurboFLASH, TurboFFE and TurboGRASS.
This allows one to center the subsequent ultrafast GRE data acquisition around the inversion time TI, where one of the tissues of interest has very little signal as its z-magnetization is passing through zero.
Unlike a standard inversion recovery (IR) sequence, all lines or a substantial segment of k-space image lines are acquired after a single inversion pulse, which can then together be considered as readout module. The readout module may use a variable flip angle approach, or the data acquisition may be divided into multiple segments (shots). The latter is useful particularly in cardiac imaging where acquiring all lines in a single segment may take too long relative to the cardiac cycle to provide adequate temporal resolution.
If multiple lines are acquired after a single pulse, the pulse sequence is a type of gradient echo echo planar imaging (EPI) pulse sequence.
See also Magnetization Prepared Rapid Gradient Echo (MPRAGE) and Turbo Field Echo (TFE).
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Contrast Enhanced Gradient Echo SequenceInfoSheet: - Sequences - 
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Contrast enhanced GRE sequences provide T2 contrast but have a relatively poor SNR. Repetitive RF pulses with small flip angles together with appropriate gradient profiles lead to the superposition of two resonance signals.
The first signal is due to the free induction decay FID observed after the first and all ensuing RF excitations.
The second is a resonance signal obtained as a result of a spin echo generated by the second and all addicted RF-pulses.
Hence it is absent after the first excitation, it is a result of the free induction decay of the second to last RF-excitation and has a TE, which is almost 2TR. For this echo to occur the gradients have to be completely symmetrical relative to the half time between two RF-pulses, a condition that makes it difficult to integrate this pulse sequence into a multiple slice imaging technique. The second signal not only contains echo contributions from free induction decay, but obviously weakened by T2-decay. Since the echo is generated by a RF-pulse, it is truly T2 rather than T2* weighted. Correspondingly it is also less sensitive to susceptibility changes and field inhomogeneities.
Companies use different acronyms to describe certain techniques.
Different terms (see also acronyms) for these gradient echo pulse sequences:
CE-FAST Contrast Enhanced Fourier Acquired Steady State,
CE-FFE Contrast Enhanced Fast Field Echo,
CE-GRE Contrast Enhanced Gradient-Echo,
DE-FGR Driven Equilibrium FGR,
FADE FASE Acquisition Double Echo,
PSIF Reverse Fast Imaging with Steady State Precession,
SSFP Steady State Free Precession,
T2 FFE Contrast Enhanced Fast Field Echo (T2 weighted).

In this context, 'contrast enhanced' refers to the pulse sequence, it does not mean enhancement with a contrast agent.

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