Physics of MRI: A primer
This article is based on an introductory lecture given for the past many years during the “MR Physics and Techniques for Clinicians” course at the Annual Meeting of the ISMRM. This introduction is not intended to be a comprehensive overview of the field, as the subject of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) physics is large and complex. Rather, it is intended to lay a conceptual foundation by which magnetic resonance image formation can be understood from an intuitive perspective. The presentation is nonmathematical, relying on simple models that take the reader progressively from the basic spin physics of nuclei, through descriptions of how the magnetic resonance signal is generated and detected in an MRI scanner, the foundations of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) relaxation, and a discussion of the Fourier transform and its relation to MR image formation. The article continues with a discussion of how magnetic field gradients are used to facilitate spatial encoding and concludes with a development of basic pulse sequences and the factors defining image contrast. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2012;35:1038-1054. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.