Simulating the effects of time-varying magnetic fields with a realistic simulated scanner.
Drobnjak I., Pell GS., Jenkinson M.
Transient magnetic fields induce changes in magnetic resonance (MR) images ranging from small, visually undetectable effects (caused, for instance, by neuronal currents) to more significant ones, such as those created by the gradient fields and eddy currents. Accurately simulating these effects may assist in correcting or optimising MR imaging for many applications (e.g., diffusion imaging, current density imaging, use of magnetic contrast agents, neuronal current imaging, etc.). Here we have extended an existing MR simulator (POSSUM) with a model for changing magnetic fields at a very high-resolution time-scale. This simulator captures a realistic range of scanner and physiological artifacts by modeling the scanner environment, pulse sequence details and subject properties (e.g., brain geometry and air-tissue boundaries). The simulations were validated by using previously published experimental data sets. In the first dataset a transient magnetic field was produced by a single conducting wire with varying current amplitude (between 17 muA and 765 muA). The second was identical except that current amplitude was fixed (at 7.8 mA) and current timing varied. A very close match between simulated images and experimental data was observed. In addition, these validation results led to the observation that the current-induced effects included ringing in the image, which extended away from the conductor, primarily in the phase-encode direction. This effect had previously not been noticed in the noisy, experimentally-acquired images, demonstrating one way in which simulated images can provide potential insight into imaging experiments.