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PHYS 8990 Topic

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Physics

Qun Zhao

Our research program is centered on one of the most advanced biomedical imaging modalities, MRI, and its advanced applications such as functional MRI (brain imaging), cancer imaging, and NMR spectroscopy.

MRI relies on the relaxation properties of excited nuclei, e.g. hydrogen nuclei in water and fat. When the object to be imaged is placed in a powerful, uniform magnetic field the spins of the atomic nuclei within the tissue all align with the magnetic field. The magnetic dipole moment of the nuclei then precesses around the axial field. The frequency with which the dipole moments precess is called the Larmor frequency. MRI allows the subject (e.g. human) to be imaged in x, y, and z from head to toe, or completely flexible orientations for images. MRI images are created from the acquired data using the discrete Fourier transform (DFT) in 2D or 3D.

In this project, students will have an opportunity to learn fundamentals on MR imaging, such as radiofrequency transmit/receive, gradients encoding, as well as learn MRI image processing methods. The BioImaging Research Center (located in Coverdell Center) has a state-of-the-art 7 Tesla (Varian) and 3T (GE) magnet, which provides top quality MR imaging capabilities. Students will have opportunities to work on the magnet and build hands-on experiences in MR systems.

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