Local SAR in parallel transmission pulse design

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The management of local and global power deposition in human subjects (specific absorption rate, SAR) is a fundamental constraint to the application of parallel transmission (pTx) systems. Even though the pTx and single channel have to meet the same SAR requirements, the complex behavior of the spatial distribution of local SAR for transmission arrays poses problems that are not encountered in conventional single-channel systems and places additional requirements on pTx radio frequency pulse design. We propose a pTx pulse design method which builds on recent work to capture the spatial distribution of local SAR in numerical tissue models in a compressed parameterization in order to incorporate local SAR constraints within computation times that accommodate pTx pulse design during an in vivo magnetic resonance imaging scan. Additionally, the algorithm yields a protocol-specific ultimate peak in local SAR, which is shown to bound the achievable peak local SAR for a given excitation profile fidelity. The performance of the approach was demonstrated using a numerical human head model and a 7 Tesla eight-channel transmit array. The method reduced peak local 10 g SAR by 14–66% for slice-selective pTx excitations and 2D selective pTx excitations compared to a pTx pulse design constrained only by global SAR. The primary tradeoff incurred for reducing peak local SAR was an increase in global SAR, up to 34% for the evaluated examples, which is favorable in cases where local SAR constraints dominate the pulse applications.

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