Gradient echo imaging

Michael Markl*, Jochen Leupold

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based on gradient echoes is used in a wide variety of imaging techniques and clinical applications. Gradient echo sequences form the basis for an essential group of imaging methods that find widespread use in clinical practice, particularly when fast imaging is important, as for example in cardiac MRI or contrast-enhanced MR angiography. However, the term "gradient echo sequence" is somewhat unspecific, as even images acquired with the most common sequences employing the gradient echo for data acquisition can significantly differ in signal, contrast, artifact behavior, and sensitivity to, eg, flow. This is due to the different use of sequence timing and basic sequence building blocks such as spoiler gradients or specific radiofrequency (RF) pulse phase patterns. In this article the basic principles of gradient echo formation compared to spin echo imaging are reviewed and the properties of gradient echo imaging in its simplest form (TR ≤laquo; T2) are described. Further, the most common three variants of fast gradient echo sequences (TR < T2), namely, unbalanced gradient echo, RF spoiled gradient echo, and balanced steady state free precession; are discussed. For each gradient echo sequence type, examples of applications exploiting the specific properties of the individual technique are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1274-1289
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • RF-spoiling
  • balanced SSFP
  • gradient echo
  • steady state free precession

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Gradient echo imaging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this