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The

physical
basics of

Dr. Abdullah Jamea


Dr. Abdullah Jamea
MRI- KKUH King Saud
University Physical Basis of MRI
- Gradient echo sequences (GRE) or Fast Field
Echo (FFE) are a class of imaging techniques that
do no use a 180o pulse to refocus the spins.
- The echo signal in GRE is generated only through
gradient reversal in response to a magnetic
field gradient pulse.

- Gradient echo sequences use short RF pulse flip


angles so that the TR and therefore the scan time
can be reduced without producing saturation.

Dr. Abdullah Jamea


MRI- KKUH King Saud
University Physical Basis of MRI
180o

90o αo
echo echo

Frequency Frequency
encoding encoding

Mz αo

90o

Mxy Mxy
Gradient Echo
dephase
gradient

rephase

signal

 FID gradient recalled


RF pulse echo
© 2006 Denis Hoa et al, Campus Medica. www.e-mri.org
- The frequency-encoding gradient is used to
rephase the FID signal because it is quicker to
apply than a 180o pulse and therefore the minimum
TE can be reduced.
- There are different types of GRE methods in clinical
use. Each of those methods relies on using a
reduced flip angle to enhance signal with short TR.
- The techniques differ by relatively small alterations
produce dramatic changes in image contrast.

Dr. Abdullah Jamea


MRI- KKUH King Saud
University Physical Basis of MRI
© 2006 Denis Hoa et al, Campus Medica. www.e-mri.org
Bo

Mz M

o 

B1
Mxy

The application of o RF pulse in GRE sequence


© 2006 Denis Hoa et al, Campus Medica. www.e-mri.org
- The signal in a GRE arises from either or both of
the tissue magnetization components.

- Part of the signal can be produced by tipping the


longitudinal magnetisation Mz, and part from the
steady state (transverse magnetisation Mxy).

- These tow parts can be separated by appropriate


manipulations of the pulse sequence.

Dr. Abdullah Jamea


MRI- KKUH King Saud
University Physical Basis of MRI
Bo

Mz M

Mxy
- The gradient echo pulse sequences and accordingly
the type of contrast they produce are classified
according to which part of the tissue magnetization
they use.
- These techniques are:
- spoiled gradient echo (longitudinal component).
- Steady state FLASH sequence (mixed component).
- Steady state free precession (transverse component).

Dr. Abdullah Jamea


MRI- KKUH King Saud
University Physical Basis of MRI
Spoiled gradient echo:
-The simplest gradient echo sequence is a spoiled
gradient echo SPGR sequence. It is also known as
FLASH (fast low angle shot) sequence.
-The signal in spoiled gradient echo images depends
solely on the longitudinal component of the tissue
magnetisation.
-This sequence uses a spoiling scheme, to dephase the
transverse magnetisation following signal detection.
-As a result, only longitudinal magnetisation
contributes
Dr. Abdullah Jamea to M at a time of the next RF pulse.
MRI- KKUH King Saud
University Physical Basis of MRI
TR
co c o

//

Slice
select Spoiler
phase
encoding

frequency
encoding

MR
signal
gradient echo
TE

The timing diagram of


Spoiled Gradient Echo pulse sequence
TR
co c o
//

Spoile

gradient echo
TE

Mz αo Mz Mz

Mxy Mxy Mxy


Spoiled gradient echo:
-The spoiled gradient echo technique may be useful
for imaging the liver or chest, since each image can
be acquired during a few seconds of breath holding.
-A TR values of 25 to 80 ms usually producing good-
quality images.

Dr. Abdullah Jamea


MRI- KKUH King Saud
University Physical Basis of MRI
© 2006 Denis Hoa et al, Campus Medica. www.e-mri.org
© 2006 Denis Hoa et al, Campus Medica. www.e-mri.org
Steady state GRE sequence :
-The signal on steady state GRE images represents a
mixed contribution from both the longitudinal and
transverse components of the tissue magnetisation.
-These sequences have an additional gradient pulse
placed at the end of the pulse sequence.
- This additional gradient pulse, called a rewinder.
- The rewinder gradient serves to eliminate dephasing
effects from phase encoding and enhances the
persistence of the transverse magnetisation.
Dr. Abdullah Jamea
MRI- KKUH King Saud
University Physical Basis of MRI
TR
co c o

//

Slice
select

phase
encoding

frequency
encoding

MR
signal
gradient echo
TE

The timing diagram of


Spoiled Gradient Echo pulse sequence
Steady state GRE sequence :
-There is a subset of study state GRE methods which
produce signals that depends primarily on the
transverse component of tissue magnetisation and
accordingly produce peter T2 contrast.
- If the second signal only is measured, a T2 weighted
images results and accordingly tissue contrast is no
longer disturbed by the effects of the signal from the
longitudinal component.

Dr. Abdullah Jamea


MRI- KKUH King Saud
University Physical Basis of MRI
T2* decay
 occurs between the dephasing and the
rephasing gradients
 rephasing incompletely recovers the signal
 signal loss is greater with longer TEs
 decay generates image contrast

Dr. Abdullah Jamea


MRI- KKUH King Saud
University
© 2006 Denis Hoa et al, Campus Medica. www.e-mri.org
T2* decay
 T2* decay is always faster than T2 decay
 gradient echo imaging cannot recover
signal losses from
 magnetic field inhomogeneity
 magnetic susceptibility
 water-fat incoherence

Dr. Abdullah Jamea


MRI- KKUH King Saud
University
T2 and T2* Relaxation
 T2* relaxation influences contrast in
gradient echo imaging
 T2 relaxation influences contrast in spin
echo imaging

Dr. Abdullah Jamea


MRI- KKUH King Saud
University
Gradient Echo
advantages
 faster imaging
 can use shorter TR and shorter TEs than
SE
 low flip angle deposits less energy
 more slices per TR than SE
 decreases SAR
 compatible with 3D acquisitions
Dr. Abdullah Jamea
MRI- KKUH King Saud
University
Gradient Echo
disadvantages
 difficult
to generate good T2 weighting
 magnetic field inhomogeneities cause
signal loss
 worse with increasing TE times
 susceptibility effects
 dephasing of water and fat protons

Dr. Abdullah Jamea


MRI- KKUH King Saud
University
Gradient Echo
changing TE
TE 9 TE 30
FA 30 FA 30

Dr. Abdullah Jamea


MRI- KKUH King Saud
susceptibility effect
University T2* weighting
Gradient Echo
magnetic susceptibility

post-surgical change
“blooming” artifact

Dr. Abdullah Jamea


MRI- KKUH King Saud
University
Ultra-fast Sequences
 Single-shot FSE / TSE (HASTE)
 Echo Planar Imaging (EPI)
 Interleave of SE and GRE (TGSE,
GRASE)
SS-FSE Sequence

k
EPI Sequence

k
HASTE, SSFSE

 Ultra-fast : 1-2 (single breath hold)


 Abdomen, chest imaging

MRCP Liver MR
GRASE/TGSE Sequence

GRE GRE GRE GRE


SE SE
-As in fast spin echo, the scan time can be significantly
reduced by filling out more than one line of space at a time.
The fastest scan time achievable is one that fills all lines of
space at once.
-This concept forms the basis of echo planar imaging (EPI).
-In EPI the 180o RF pulses used in FSE are replaced with
gradient rephasing.
-In order to fill out the space in one repetition, the read out
gradient has to be reversed from positive to negative and
back to positive again extremely rapidly.
Dr. Abdullah Jamea
MRI- KKUH King Saud
University Physical Basis of MRI Physical Basis of MRI
40
-All the signals must be encoded before the transverse
magnetisation has decayed to zero, this is achieved by
placing a 180o rephasing pulse prior to the data acquisition.
-Due to the extremely short scan times of EPI, images can
be acquired in under a second (30-150 ms).
-EPI is useful to freeze physical motion, which allow
improve abdominal, cardiac and Brain functional imaging.
-EPI requires a special hardware and software to handle the
increased acquisition demands such as powerful gradient.
-Severe chemical-shift artifacts and magnetic susceptibility
artifacts, therfor require good fat saturation.

Dr. Abdullah Jamea


MRI- KKUH King Saud
University Physical Basis of MRI Physical Basis of MRI
43