Image-guided radio-frequency gain calibration for high-field MRI

Elodie Breton, KellyAnne McGorty, Graham C. Wiggins, Leon Axel, Daniel Kim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


High-field (≥3T) MRI provides a means to increase the signal-to-noise ratio, due to its higher tissue magnetization compared with 1.5T. However, both the static magnetic field (B0) and the transmit radio-frequency (RF) field (B1+) inhomogeneities are comparatively higher at higher field strengths than those at 1.5T. These challenging factors at high-field strengths make it more difficult to accurately calibrate the transmit RF gain using standard RF calibration procedures. An image-based RF calibration procedure was therefore developed, in order to accurately calibrate the transmit RF gain within a specific region-of-interest (ROI). Using a turbo fast low-angle shot (TurboFLASH) pulse sequence with centric k-space reordering, a series of 'saturation-no-recovery' images was acquired by varying the flip angle of the preconditioning pulse. In the resulting images, the signal null occurs in regions where the flip angle of the preconditioning pulse is 90°. For a given ROI, themean signal can be plotted as a function of the nominal flip angle, and the resulting curve can be used to quantitatively identify the signal null. This image-guided RF calibration procedure was evaluated through phantomand volunteer imaging experiments at 3T and 7T. The image-guided RF calibration results in vitro were consistent with standard B0 and B1+ maps. The standard automated RF calibration procedure produced approximately 20% and 15-30% relative error in the transmit RF gain in the left kidney at 3T and brain at 7T, respectively. For initial application, a T2 mapping pulse sequence was applied at 7T. The T2 measurements in the thalamus at 7T were 60.6 ms and 48.2 ms using the standard and image-guided RF calibration procedures, respectively. This rapid, image-guided RF calibration procedure can be used to optimally calibrate the flip angle for a given ROI and thus minimize measurement errors for quantitative MRI and MR spectroscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)368-374
Number of pages7
JournalNMR in Biomedicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2010


  • B
  • Flip angle
  • High field MRI
  • RF calibration
  • RF transmitter gain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy

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