Ramped Hybrid Encoding for Improved Ultrashort Echo Time Imaging

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Abstract

Purpose:

We propose a new acquisition to minimize the per-excitation encoding duration and improve the imaging capability for short T2* species.

Methods:

In the proposed ramped hybrid encoding (RHE) technique, gradients are applied before the radiofrequency (RF) pulse as in pointwise encoding time reduction with radial acquisition (PETRA) and zero echo time (ZTE) imaging. However, in RHE, gradients are rapidly ramped after RF excitation to the maximum amplitude to minimize encoding duration. To acquire central k-space data not measured during RF deadtime, RHE uses a hybrid encoding scheme similar to PETRA. A new gradient calibration method based on single-point imaging was developed to estimate the k-space trajectory and enable robust and high quality reconstruction.

Results:

RHE enables a shorter per-excitation encoding time and provides the highest spatial resolution among ultrashort T2* imaging methods. In phantom and in vivo experiments, RHE exhibited robust imaging with negligible chemical shift or blurriness caused by T2* decay and unwanted slice selection.

Conclusion:

RHE allows the shortest per-excitation encoding time for ultrashort T2* imaging, which alleviates the impact of fast T2* decay occurring during encoding, and enables improved spatial resolution. Magn Reson Med 76:814–825, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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