Purpose: To improve the slice profile quality obtained by RF half-pulse excitation for 2D-UTE applications.
Methods: The overall first-order and zero-order phase errors along the slice-selection direction were obtained with the help of an optimization task to minimize the out-of-slice signal contamination from the calibration 1-dimenisonal (1D) profile data. The time-phase-error evolution was approximated from the k-space readout data, which were acquired primarily for correction of the readout trajectories during data regridding to the rectilinear grids. The correction of the slice profile was achieved by rephasing gradient pulses applied immediately after the end of excitation. The total prescan calibration typically took less than 2 minutes.
Results: The improved image quality using the proposed calibration method was demonstrated both on phantoms and on ankle images obtained from healthy volunteers. It was demonstrated that calibration can be performed either as a separate water phantom measurement or directly as a prescan procedure.
Conclusion: The slice-profile distortion from the half-pulse excitation could substantially affect the overall fidelity of 2D-UTE images. The presented experiments proved that the image quality could be substantially increased by application of the proposed slice-correction method.
Keywords: UTE imaging; eddy current correction; gradients; half-pulse excitation.
© 2020 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.