Single echo acquisition magnetic resonance imaging
McDougall, Mary Preston
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The dramatic improvement in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan time over the past fifteen years through gradient-based methods that sample k-space more efficiently and quickly cannot be sustained, as thresholds regarding hardware and safety limitations are already being approached. Parallel imaging methods (using multiple receiver coils to partially encode k-space) have offered some relief in the efforts and are rapidly becoming the focus of current endeavors to decrease scan time. Ideally, for some applications, phase encoding would be eliminated completely, replaced with array coil encoding instead, and the entire image formed in a single echo. The primary objective of this work was to explore that acceleration limit ?? to implement and investigate the methodology of single echo acquisition magnetic resonance imaging (SEA MRI). The initial evaluation of promising array coil designs is described, based on parameters determined by the ability to enable the imaging method. The analyses of field patterns, decoupling, and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) that led to the final 64-channel array coil design are presented, and the fabrication and testing of coils designed for 4.7T and 1.5T are described. A detailed description of the obtainment of the first SEA images ?? 64xNreadout images, acquired in a single echo ?? is provided with an evaluation of those images and highly accelerated images (through parallel imaging techniques) based on SNR and artifact power. Finally, the development of methodologies for various MR applications is described: applications that would particularly benefit from the speed of the imaging method, or those to which the method or the tool (array coil) lends itself. These applications include, but are not limited to, 3D imaging (phase encode in the slice select direction), resolution-enhanced imaging, large-scale (field-of-view) microscopy, and conformal surface imaging. Finally, using the primary enablement of the method ?? the ability to obtain complete MR images at speeds limited only by the time it takes to acquire a single echo ?? is presented with a discussion of extremely high frame rate imaging. The contribution to the field of medical imaging is the first implementation, characterization, and demonstration of applications for the acquisition of MR images in a single echo.