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Magn Reson Med. 2008 Oct;60(4):908-16. doi: 10.1002/mrm.21730.

Exponential excitation pulses for improved water content mapping in the presence of background gradients.

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Brain Imaging Center, University of Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany.


Several water content mapping techniques are based on the acquisition of multiple gradient echoes (GE) with different echo times (TE). However, in the presence of linear magnetic field gradients G(susc) the signal decay is no longer exponential but in the case of a rectangular slice profile weighted by a sinc function, giving rise to erroneous initial amplitudes S(0) in monoexponential fitting. Generally, it can be shown that the signal decay is weighted by the time profile of the excitation pulse. Thus, for an excitation pulse with an exponential time profile, i.e., a Lorentzian slice profile, the signal decay remains exponential and exponential fitting still yields the correct amplitude S(0). Multiecho GE images of a gel phantom and five human volunteers were acquired at 3 T using a sinc-shaped and an exponential excitation pulse. In addition, simulations were performed to investigate the influence of saturation effects due to distortion of the ideal Lorentzian slice profile. A considerable overestimation of S(0) when using a sinc-shaped excitation pulse was observed. Errors were greatly reduced with an exponential excitation pulse. We thus propose the use of excitation pulses with exponential time profile to obtain accurate estimates for S(0) from exponential fitting.

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