Basic physics of quantitative MRI

Author(s): Chris Moore

Hospital: The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Reference: RAD Magazine, 50, 586, 19-20


The use of clinical MRI has risen exponentially since its introduction, due to its ability to deliver superior soft tissue contrast when compared to CT. However, its utility extends beyond structural imaging. MRI exploits two fundamental physical processes to produce an image:

Magnetic resonance provides spatial information, the frequency of protons (abundant as hydrogen nuclei in water in the human body) precessing around an external magnetic field is determined by the magnitude of the field. This can be altered throughout the bore of the scanner using magnetic field gradients, resulting in spatially dependent resonant frequencies of spins in different locations in the bore.

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