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Magn Reson Med. 2012 Mar;67(3):601-8. doi: 10.1002/mrm.23278. Epub 2011 Dec 29.

Tailored excitation using nonlinear B0-shims.

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Advanced MRI Section, Laboratory of Functional and Molecular Imaging, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


In high-field MRI, RF flip angle inhomogeneity due to wavelength effects can lead to spatial variations in contrast and sensitivity. Improved flip angle homogeneity can be achieved through multidimensional excitation, but long RF pulse durations limit practical application. A recent approach to reduce RF pulse duration is based on parallel excitation through multiple RF channels. Here, an alternative approach to shorten multidimensional excitation is proposed that makes use of nonlinear spatial variations in the stationary (B(0)) magnetic field during a B(0)-sensitive excitation pulse. As initial demonstration, the method was applied to 2D gradient echo (GE) MRI of human brain at 7 T. Using B(0) shims with up to second-order spatial dependence, it is demonstrated that root-mean-squared flip angle variation can be reduced from 20 to 11% with RF pulse lengths that are practical for general GE imaging applications without requiring parallel excitation. The method is expected to improve contrast and sensitivity in GE MRI of human brain at high field.

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