The effect of the diffusion time and pulse gradient duration ratio on the diffraction pattern and the structural information estimated from q-space diffusion MR: Experiments and simulations

Amnon Bar-Shir, Liat Avram, Evren Özarslan, Peter J. Basser, Yoram Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


q-Space diffusion MRI (QSI) provides a means of obtaining microstructural information about porous materials and neuronal tissues from diffusion data. However, the accuracy of this structural information depends on experimental parameters used to collect the MR data. q-Space diffusion MR performed on clinical scanners is generally collected with relatively long diffusion gradient pulses, in which the gradient pulse duration, δ, is comparable to the diffusion time, Δ. In this study, we used phantoms, consisting of ensembles of microtubes, and mathematical models to assess the effect of the ratio of the diffusion time and the duration of the diffusion pulse gradient, i.e., Δ/δ, on the MR signal attenuation vs. q, and on the measured structural information extracted therefrom. We found that for Δ/δ ∼ 1, the diffraction pattern obtained from q-space MR data are shallower than when the short gradient pulse (SGP) approximation is satisfied. For long δ the estimated compartment size is, as expected, smaller than the real size. Interestingly, for Δ/δ ∼ 1 the diffraction peaks are shifted to even higher q-values, even when δ is kept constant, giving the impression that the restricted compartments are even smaller than they are. When phantoms composed of microtubes of different diameters are used, it is more difficult to estimate the diameter distribution in this regime. Excellent agreement is found between the experimental results and simulations that explicitly account for the use of long duration gradient pulses. Using such experimental data and this mathematical framework, one can estimate the true compartment dimensions when long and finite gradient pulses are used even when Δ/δ ∼ 1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-236
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes



  • Diffraction
  • Diffusion
  • Diffusion time
  • NMR
  • Pulse duration
  • q-Space
  • QSI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Cite this