MR Physics for Physicists

Organizer: Michael H. Buonocore, M.D., Ph.D.
Skill level:  Intermediate - Advanced

Saturday, 3 May 2008


This one-day course will explore the physical methods and mathematical models that underlie nearly all research and development in MRI and MR spectroscopy. Specific topics include:

  • Quantum mechanical and semi-classical models of the proton dynamics;
  • Spin density and equations for coupled spin systems;
  • Intra- and intermolecular multiple quantum coherence;
  • Physical mechanisms of hyperpolarization;
  • Quantum-mechanical description of the spin-RF coil interaction;
  • RF field equations and reciprocity laws at all field strengths;
  • Quantum mechanical and classical descriptions of T1, T2 and other contrast mechanisms;
  • Mathematical models for susceptibility contrast;
  • Tissue models to explain MRI contrast;
  • Chemical and physical principles of contrast agent design;
  • Mathematical description of dynamic equilibrium magnetization in fast sequences;
  • Description of echo formation and contrast using spin phase diagrams;
  • Principles of manipulation of magnetization phase for applications; and
  • Models and equations for RF pulse design.
  • Educational Objectives:

    Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to:

  • Starting from first principles in quantum mechanics, describe and derive the equations for spin and magnetization dynamics, and explain the semi-classical limits of the quantum mechanical model;
  • Describe the spin density formalism used to model the dynamics of coupled spin systems, and the application of this formalism to understand experiments in MR spectroscopy, as well as experiments that reveal residual intra- and inter-molecular dipolar interactions of water in tissues;
  • Describe the quantum mechanical and semi-classical theory of relaxation, and the mechanisms of relaxation of protons that can result in generation of image contrast;
  • Describe the physical tissue models needed to understand image contrast from relaxation parameters, magnetization phase, microscopic susceptibility, the action of contrast agents, and generally from cellular structure on the miscroscopic (< 100 nanometers) and mesoscopic (1-100 micron) scale; and
  • Describe the mathematical models used in deriving new pulse sequences and RF pulse modulation. Specifically, describe how spin phase diagrams are used to understand dynamic equilibrium in short tr sequences, and how these diagrams are used for developing new sequences with new contrast dependencies. Describe the different mathematical models used for RF pulse design, and their relative advantages and disadvantages.

    Audience Description:

    The course is designed for Ph.D. candidates and recent graduates in physics, chemistry, applied mathematics, and engineering. It is also well suited to established MR scientists who seeks a more quantitative understanding of the physics and mathematical foundations of MRI. The individual who will benefit most will have a graduate education MR physics, chemistry, applied mathematics, or engineering. An individual with several years of direct MRI experience, but without prior formal physics and mathematics training will also benefit.

      Spin Physics  
    8:30 Quantum Mechanical and Semi-Classical Models of the Proton and Spin Dynamics. Robert W. Brown, Ph.D.
    9:00 Spin Density Equations for Coupled Spin Systems Peter S. Allen, Ph.D.
    9:30 Understanding Intra- and Intermolecular Multiple Quantum Coherences Jiahui Zhong, Ph.D.
    10:00 Physical Mechanisms of Hyperpolarization Jim M. Wild, Ph.D.
    10:30 Break  
    10:30 - 10:45 Meet the Teachers  
      Signal Detection  
    11:00 Quantum Mechanical Models of the Spin-RF Coil Interaction James Tropp, Ph.D.
    11:30 Understanding RF Field Equations and Reciprocity Laws at All Field Strengths Frank Seifert, Ph.D.
    12:00 Break  
    12:00 - 12:15 Meet the Teachers  
      Generation of Contrast  
    13:30 QM and Semi-Classical Models for T1, T2, and Other Contrast Mechanisms Joseph J.H. Ackerman, Ph.D.
    14:00 Mathematical Models for Susceptibility Contrast E. Mark Haacke, Ph.D.
    14:30 Tissue Models and Their Application to Predicting MRI Contrast Dmitriy Yablonskiy, Ph.D.
    15:00 Chemical and Physical Principles of Contrast Agent Design Jeff W.M. Bulte, Ph.D.
    15:30 Break  
    15:30 - 15:45 Meet the Teachers  
      Imaging Physics  
    16:00 Mathematical Description of Dynamic Equilibrium Magnetization in Fast Sequences Carl Ganter, Ph.D.
    16:30 Understanding Echo Formation and Contrast Through Spin Phase Diagrams Yuval Zur, Ph.D.
    17:00 Principles of Manipulating Magnetization Phase for Applications Michael Markl, Ph.D.
    17:30 Models and Equations for RF Pulse Design Charles L. Epstein, Ph.D.
    18:00 Adjournment  
    18:00 - 18:15 Meet the Teachers