Robust time-shifted spoke pulse design in the presence of large B0 variations with simultaneous reduction of through-plane dephasing, B1+ effects, and the specific absorption rate using parallel transmission

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Purpose:To design parallel transmission spokes pulses with time-shifted profiles for joint mitigation of intensity variations due to B1+ effects, signal loss due to through-plane dephasing, and the specific absorption rate (SAR) at 7T.Methods:We derived a slice-averaged small tip angle (SA-STA) approximation of the magnetization signal at echo time that depends on the B1+ transmit profiles, the through-slice B0 gradient and the amplitude and time-shifts of the spoke waveforms. We minimize a magnitude least-squares objective based on this signal equation using a fast interior-point approach with analytical expressions of the Jacobian and Hessian.Results:Our algorithm runs in less than three minutes for the design of two-spoke pulses subject to hundreds of local SAR constraints. On a B0/B1+ head phantom, joint optimization of the channel-dependent time-shifts and spoke amplitudes allowed signal recovery in high-B0 regions at no increase of SAR. Although the method creates uniform magnetization profiles (ie, uniform intensity), the flip angle varies across the image, which makes it ill-suited to T1-weighted applications.Conclusions:The SA-STA approach presented in this study is best suited to T2*-weighted applications with long echo times that require signal recovery around high B0 regions. Magn Reson Med 76:540–554, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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