SPARKLING: variable-density k-space filling curves for accelerated T2* -weighted MRI

Magn Reson Med. 2019 Jun;81(6):3643-3661. doi: 10.1002/mrm.27678. Epub 2019 Feb 17.


Purpose: To present a new optimition-driven design of optimal k-space trajectories in the context of compressed sensing: Spreading Projection Algorithm for Rapid K-space sampLING (SPARKLING).

Theory: The SPARKLING algorithm is a versatile method inspired from stippling techniques that automatically generates optimized sampling patterns compatible with MR hardware constraints on maximum gradient amplitude and slew rate. These non-Cartesian sampling curves are designed to comply with key criteria for optimal sampling: a controlled distribution of samples (e.g., variable density) and a locally uniform k-space coverage.

Methods: Ex vivo and in vivo prospective T2* -weighted acquisitions were performed on a 7-Tesla scanner using the SPARKLING trajectories for various setups and target densities. Our method was compared to radial and variable-density spiral trajectories for high-resolution imaging.

Results: Combining sampling efficiency with compressed sensing, the proposed sampling patterns allowed up to 20-fold reductions in MR scan time (compared to fully sampled Cartesian acquisitions) for two-dimensional T2* -weighted imaging without deterioration of image quality, as demonstrated by our experimental results at 7 Tesla on in vivo human brains for a high in-plane resolution of 390 μm. In comparison to existing non-Cartesian sampling strategies, the proposed technique also yielded superior image quality.

Conclusions: The proposed optimization-driven design of k-space trajectories is a versatile framework that is able to enhance MR sampling performance in the context of compressed sensing.

Keywords: compressed sensing; k-space trajectories; optimization; variable density.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio