Numerical solutions to the time-dependent Bloch equations revisited
The purpose of this study was to demonstrate a simple and fast method for solving the time-dependent Bloch equations. First, the time-dependent Bloch equations were reduced to a homogeneous linear differential equation, and then a simple equation was derived to solve it using a matrix operation. The validity of this method was investigated by comparing with the analytical solutions in the case of constant radiofrequency irradiation. There was a good agreement between them, indicating the validity of this method. As a further example, this method was applied to the time-dependent Bloch equations in the two-pool exchange model for chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) or amide proton transfer (APT) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and the Z-spectra and asymmetry spectra were calculated from their solutions. They were also calculated using the fourth/fifth-order Runge-Kutta-Fehlberg (RKF) method for comparison. There was also a good agreement between them, and this method was much faster than the RKF method. In conclusion, this method will be useful for analyzing the complex CEST or APT contrast mechanism and/or investigating the optimal conditions for CEST or APT MRI.