In vivo method for correcting transmit/receive nonuniformities with phased array coils
Phased array coils are finding widespread applications in both the research and the clinical setting. However, intensity nonuniformities with such coils can reduce the potential benefits of these coils, particularly for applications such as tissue segmentation. In this work, a method is described for correcting the nonuniform signal response based on in vivo measures of both the transmission field of body coil and the reception sensitivity of phased array coils, separately. For a uniform phantom, the reception sensitivity can be calculated using both Bloch equations and transmission field maps. For a heterogeneous object such as a brain, a minimal contrast acquisition must be obtained to map the receiver nonuniformities. This transmit field/receiver sensitivity (TFRS) approach is compared with the standard methods of using the body coil to obtain a reference scan and low-pass filtering. The quantitative comparison results shows that the TFRS approach provides superior results in correcting intensity nonuniformities for a uniform phantom. This approach reduces the ratio between signal intensity SD of an image and its mean intensity from approximately 21% before correction to 13% after correction. Results are also shown demonstrating the utility of this approach in vivo with human brain images. The method is general and can be applied with most pulse sequences, any coil combination for transmission and reception, and in any anatomic region. Magn Reson Med 53:666–674, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.