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Diffusion-weighted steady-state free precession (DW-SSFP) accumulates signal from multiple echoes over several TRs yielding a strong sensitivity to diffusion with short gradient durations and imaging times. Although the DW-SSFP signal is well characterized for isotropic, Gaussian diffusion, it is unclear how the DW-SSFP signal propagates in inhomogeneous media such as brain tissue. This article presents a more general analytical expression for the DW-SSFP signal which accommodates Gaussian and non-Gaussian spin displacement probability density functions. This new framework for calculating the DW-SSFP signal is used to investigate signal behavior for a single fiber, crossing fibers, and reflective barriers. DW-SSFP measurements in the corpus callosum of a fixed brain are shown to be in good agreement with theoretical predictions. Further measurements in fixed brain tissue also demonstrate that 3D DW-SSFP out-performs 3D diffusion weighted spin echo in both SNR and CNR efficiency providing a compelling example of its potential to be used for high resolution diffusion tensor imaging.

Original publication




Journal article


Magn Reson Med

Publication Date





405 - 413


Algorithms, Animals, Anisotropy, Corpus Callosum, Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Image Enhancement, Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted, Macaca mulatta, Male, Nerve Fibers, Myelinated, Reproducibility of Results, Sensitivity and Specificity