A Method for Calibrating Diffusion Gradients in Diffusion Tensor Imaging

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Abstract

Objective:

To calibrate and correct the gradient errors including gradient amplitude scaling errors, background/imaging gradients, and residual gradients in diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).

Methods:

A calibration protocol using an isotropic phantom was proposed. Gradient errors were estimated by using linear regression analyses on quadratic functions of diffusion gradients along 3 orthogonal directions. A 6-element total effective scaling vector is generated from the calibration protocol to retrospectively correct gradient errors in DTI experiments.

Results:

The accuracy of the calibration protocol was within 1% or less in estimating gradient scaling errors. On both the brain study and the computer simulations, the retrospective correction minimized undesirable estimate biases of DTI measurements due to gradient errors.

Conclusion:

The protocol and retrospective correction are shown to be effective. The method may be used for prospective correction if actual diffusion-gradient waveforms are available. The methodology is expandable to general diffusion imaging schemes.

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