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J Magn Reson. 2001 Jul;151(1):94-100.

Microscopic imaging of slow flow and diffusion: a pulsed field gradient stimulated echo sequence combined with turbo spin echo imaging.

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Laboratory of Biophysics, Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences, Wageningen University, Dreijenlaan 3, Wageningen, 6703 HA, The Netherlands.


In this paper we present a pulse sequence that combines a displacement-encoded stimulated echo with rapid sampling of k-space by means of turbo spin echo imaging. The stimulated echo enables the use of long observation times between the two pulsed field gradients that sample q-space completely. Propagators, constructed with long observation times, could discriminate slowly flowing protons from diffusing protons, as shown in a phantom in which a plug flow with linear velocity of 50microm/s could clearly be distinguished from stationary water. As a biological application the apparent diffusion constant in longitudinal direction of a transverse image of a maize plant stem had been measured as a function of observation time. Increasing contrast in the apparent diffusion constant image with increasing observation times were caused by differences in plant tissue: although the plant stem did not take up any water, the vascular bundles, concentrated in the outer ring of the stem, could still be discerned because of their longer unrestricted diffusional pathways for water in the longitudinal direction compared to cells in the parenchymal tissue. In the xylem region of a tomato pedicel flowing water could be distinguished from a large amount of stationary water. Linear flow velocities up to 0.67 mm/s were measured with an observation time of 180 ms.

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