Spherical navigator (SNAV) echoes show promise in correcting for three-dimensional rigid-body motion. In this paper, several important parameters in the design and performance of the SNAV technique are discussed, including a novel sampling strategy, the optimal k-space radius and sampling density of the navigator, and the execution of the SNAV trajectory by the scanner hardware. A variable-sampling density (VSD) helical-spiral SNAV trajectory, which can acquire data on the entire spherical shell without exceeding the maximum slew rate of the scanner, is presented. To ensure that the VSD SNAV trajectory was properly executed by the scanner hardware, the gradient waveforms were verified using a self-encoding technique. The ability of the VSD SNAV to measure rotational and translational motion was studied with in vitro experiments at various k-space radii and sampling densities. The results of this study show that the best accuracy was attained at k-space radii of 1.4 and 1.6 cm(-1), with 2400 to 4000 samples acquired over the sphere.
Copyright 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.