Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a non-ionizing form of medical imaging which has practical uses in diagnosing, characterizing, and studying diseases in vivo. Current clinical practice utilizes a highly trained radiologist to view MR images and qualitatively diagnose, characterize, or study a disease. There is no easy way to compare qualitative data. That is why developing quantitative measures in MRI show promise. Quantitative measures of disease can be compared across a population, MRI sites, and over time. Osteoarthritis is one disease where those who have it may benefit from the development of quantitative MRI measures. Those benefits may include earlier diagnosis and treatment of the disease or treatment which may halt or even reverse the damage from the disease.The work presented in this dissertation focuses on analyzing and developing new methods of radiofrequency (B1) field mapping to improve quantitative MRI measures. The dissertation opens with an introduction and a brief primer on MRI physics, followed by an introduction to B1 and flip-angle mapping in MRI (Chapters 1-3). Chapter 4 presents a careful statistical analysis of a recent and popular B1 mapping method, the Bloch-Siegert shift (BSS) method, along with a comparison of the technique to other common B1 mapping methods. The statistical models developed in chapter 4 are verified using both Monte Carlo simulation and actual MRI experiments in phantoms. Chapter 5 analyzes and details the potential errors introduced in B1 mapping when a 3D slab-selective excitation is employed. A method for correcting errors introduced by 3D slab-selective B1 mapping is then introduced in chapter 6, along with metrics to quantify the error involved. The thesis closes with a summary of other scientific contributions made by the author in chapter 7. The chapters comprising the bulk of the presented research (4-7) are briefly summarized below. Chapter 4, the statistical analysis of B1 mapping methods, demonstrates the effectiveness of deriving the B1 estimate from the phase of the MR image. These techniques are shown to perform particularly well in low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) applications. However, there are benefits and drawbacks of each B1 mapping technique. The BSS method deposits a significant amount of radiofrequency (RF) power into the patient, causing a concern that tissue heating may occur. The Phase-Sensitive (PS) method of B1 mapping outperforms the other techniques in many situations, but suffers from significant sensitivity to off-resonance. The Dual-Angle (DA) method is very simple to implement and the analysis is straightforward, but it can introduce significant mean bias in the estimate. No B1 mapping technique performs well for all situations. Therefore, the best B1 mapping method needs to be determined for each situation. The work in chapter 4 provides guidance for that choice. Many B1 mapping techniques rely on a linear relationship between flip angle and transmit voltage. That assumption breaks down when a 3D slab-selective excitation is used. 3D slab-selective excitation is a common technique used to reduce the field-of-view (FOV) in MRI, which can directly reduce scan time. The problem with slab-selective excitation in conjunction with B1 mapping has been documented, but the potential errors in B1 estimation have never been properly analyzed across different techniques. The analysis in chapter 5 demonstrates that the errors introduced in B1 mapping using a slab-selective excitation in conjunction with the ubiquitous DA B1 mapping method can be significant. It is then shown that another B1 mapping technique, the Actual Flip Angle Imaging (AFI) method, doesn't suffer from the same limitation. The analysis presented in Chapter 6 demonstrates that some errors introduced by 3D slab-selective B1 mapping may be modeled and corrected allowing the use of 3D slab-selective excitation to reduce field-of-view, and potentially reduce scan time. The errors are modeled and corrected with a general numerical method using Bloch simulations. The general method is applied to the DA method as an example, but is general and could easily be extended to other methods as well. Finally, a set of metrics are proposed and briefly explored that can be used to better understand the topology and severity of errors introduced into B1 mapping methods. With a better understanding of the errors introduced, the need for correction can be determined. Chapter 7 details other significant ancillary contributions made by the author including: (1) presentation of a new B1 mapping method, the decoupled RF-pulse phase-sensitive B1 mapping method, which has potential for parallel transmit MRI; (2) demonstration of an ultra-short TE method which has potential for imaging Alzheimers brain lesions in vivo; (3) introduction of a new steady-state diffusion tensor imaging technique; (4) phase-sensitive B1 mapping in sodium is demonstrated, a feat not previously demonstrated; (5) a comparison between a dual-tuned and single-tuned sodium coil; (6) introduction of a water- and fat-separation technique using multiple acquisition SSFP; (7) an inter-site and inter-vendor quantitative MRI study is introduced; (8) a relaxation and contrast optimization for laryngeal imaging at 3T is introduced; and (9) diffusion imaging with insert gradients is introduced.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Electrical and Computer Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





magnetic resonance imaging, flip-angle mapping, B1 mapping, Bloch-Siegert shift, phase sensitive, dual angle, actual flip angle imaging, BSS, PS, DA, AFI, slab selection, 3D, slice selection, flip angle, B1