High-resolution gradient-recalled echo imaging at 9.4T using 16-channel parallel transmit simultaneous multislice spokes excitations with slice-by-slice flip angle homogenization

Magn Reson Med. 2017 Sep;78(3):1050-1058. doi: 10.1002/mrm.26501. Epub 2016 Oct 23.


Purpose: In order to fully benefit from the improved signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratios at 9.4T, the challenges of B1+ inhomogeneity and the long acquisition time of high-resolution 2D gradient-recalled echo (GRE) imaging were addressed.

Theory and methods: Flip angle homogenized excitations were achieved by parallel transmission (pTx) of 3-spoke pulses, designed by magnitude least-squares optimization in a slice-by-slice fashion; the acquisition time reduction was achieved by simultaneous multislice (SMS) pulses. The slice-specific spokes complex radiofrequency scaling factors were applied to sinc waveforms on a per-channel basis and combined with the other pulses in an SMS slice group to form the final SMS-pTX pulse. Optimal spokes locations were derived from simulations.

Results: Flip angle maps from presaturation TurboFLASH showed improvement of flip angle homogenization with 3-spoke pulses over CP-mode excitation (normalized root-mean-square error [NRMSE] 0.357) as well as comparable excitation homogeneity across the single-band (NRMSE 0.119), SMS-2 (NRMSE 0.137), and SMS-3 (NRMSE 0.132) 3-spoke pulses. The application of the 3-spoke SMS-3 pulses in a 48-slice GRE protocol, which has an in-plane resolution of 0.28 × 0.28 mm, resulted in a 50% reduction of scan duration (total acquisition time 6:52 min including reference scans).

Conclusion: Time-efficient flip angle homogenized high-resolution GRE imaging at 9.4T was accomplished by using slice-specific SMS-pTx spokes excitations. Magn Reson Med 78:1050-1058, 2017. © 2016 The Authors Magnetic Resonance in Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

Keywords: high-resolution GRE SMS-pTX; magnitude least-squares; parallel transmission; simultaneous multislice; spokes pulses; ultrahigh-field MR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male