Nonlinear magnitude and linear phase behaviors of T2*imaging: Theoretical approximation and Monte Carlo simulation

Zikuan Chen, Vince Calhoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The underlying source of brain imaging by T2*-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (T2*MRI) is the intracranial inhomogeneous tissue magnetic susceptibility (denoted by χ) that causes an inhomogeneous field map (via magnetization) in a main field. By decomposing T2 *MRI into two steps, we understand that the 1st step from a χ source to a field map is a linear but non-isomorphic spatial mapping, and the 2nd step from the field map to a T2*image is a nonlinear mapping due to the trigonometric behavior of spin precession signals. The magnitude and phase calculations from a complex T2*image introduce additional nonlinearities. In this report, we look into the magnitude and phase behaviors of a T2* image (signal) by theoretical approximation and Monte Carlo simulation. We perform the 1st-order Taylor expansion on intravoxel dephasing formula of a T2*signal and show that the T2*magnitude is a quadratic mapping of the field map and T2*phase is a linear isomorphic mapping. By Monte Carlo simulation of T2*MRI for a span of echo times (with B0=3T and TE=[0,120] ms), we first confirm the quadratic magnitude and linear phase behaviors in small phase angle regime (via TE <30ms), and then provide more general magnitude and phase nonlinear behaviors in large phase angle scenarios (via TE >30ms). By solving the inverse problem of T2 MRI, we demonstrate χ tomography and conclude that the χ source can be reliably reconstructed from a T2*phase image in a small phase angle regime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-400
Number of pages11
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Complex T2 image (signal)
  • Intravoxel dephasing
  • Magnetic susceptibility tomography
  • Small phase angle regime
  • T2*MRI
  • Trigonometric spin signal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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