Purpose: To develop a novel, current-controlled alternating steady-state free precession (SSFP)-based conductivity imaging method and corresponding MR signal models to estimate current-induced magnetic flux density (B<inf>z</inf>) and conductivity distribution. Methods: In the proposed method, an SSFP pulse sequence, which is in sync with alternating current pulses, produces dual oscillating steady states while yielding nonlinear relation between signal phase and B<inf>z</inf>. A ratiometric signal model between the states was analytically derived using the Bloch equation, wherein B<inf>z</inf> was estimated by solving a nonlinear inverse problem for conductivity estimation. A theoretical analysis on the signal-to-noise ratio of B<inf>z</inf> was given. Numerical and experimental studies were performed using SSFP-FID and SSFP-ECHO with current pulses positioned either before or after signal encoding to investigate the feasibility of the proposed method in conductivity estimation. Results: Given all SSFP variants herein, SSFP-FID with alternating current pulses applied before signal encoding exhibits the highest B<inf>z</inf> signal-to-noise ratio and conductivity contrast. Additionally, compared with conventional conductivity imaging, the proposed method benefits from rapid SSFP acquisition without apparent loss of conductivity contrast. Conclusion: We successfully demonstrated the feasibility of the proposed method in estimating current-induced B<inf>z</inf> and conductivity distribution. It can be a promising, rapid imaging strategy for quantitative conductivity imaging.
- Alternating steady-state free precession
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Steady-state free precession
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging