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Health Careers Education
The study of the principles of physics used during magnetic resonance imaging.
Cindy Schneider
PHYSICS UNIT I (5 Hours): Principles of Magnetism and Electromagnetism

Completion of this unit is necessary for the student=s understanding of the physics of MRI. The
fundamental physical concepts of electricity and magnetism are learned. The interaction between the electric field and the magnetic field, as the basis for electromagnetism, is studied. Electromagnetism and electromagnetic radiation are studied, as they relate to the production of the MRI signal.

PHYSICS UNIT II (13 Hours): MRI System Hardware

This unit involves the study of the equipment used in the process of magnetic resonance imaging. The student=s understanding of the purpose, function, operation, and operating standards/parameters of magnetic imaging hardware is necessary for the performance of a quality MRI examination, as well as the safety of the patient and operator. The major components of the MRI imager and their subsystems are studied in detail, to include the gantry, operating console, computer, permanent, resistive and superconducting magnets, shim and gradient coils and the radiofrequency probe. Emphasis will be on superconducting magnets, since they are the most common type of magnet in use today.

PHYSICS UNIT III (9 Hours): MRI Safety

The safety of the patient and operator, during the performance of an MRI procedure, is addressed in this unit of study. The principal mechanisms of interaction of the three MRI energy fields with tissue are learned. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) regulations and recommended guidelines are detailed. General safety considerations relating to patient evaluation, ferromagnetic projectiles, cryogen safety, in vivo safety hazards, patient and employee pregnancy and emergency procedures in the MRI suite are studied.

PHYSICS UNIT IV (9 Hours): Nuclear Magnetism

This unit discusses atomic structure, with an emphasis on the nucleus and its properties that are of specific interest to MRI. The interaction between the atomic nucleus and the static magnetic and RF fields of an MRI imager are discussed. The quantum and classical mechanical descriptions are presented and contrasted.

PHYSICS UNIT V (10 Hours): Resonance and Relaxation

This unit discusses the fundamental MRI principles of resonance and the relaxation of hydrogen protons after RF excitation. The free induction decay (FID) and spin echo are introduced. T1, T2, and T2*(star) relaxation are discussed.

PHYSICS UNIT VI (6 Hours): Image Weighting and Contrast Parameters

This unit discusses the image contrast created by the differing relaxation times of tissues. Spin echo,
gradient echo, and inversion recovery imaging are discussed. The contrast parameters of repetition time (TR), echo time (TE), inversion time (TI), and flip angle are introduced. Basic pulse sequence diagrams are explained.

PHYSICS UNIT VII (12 Hours): Spatial Localization and Data Acquisition
This unit explains the process of spatial localization of the MR signal, by way of slice select,
frequency encoding, and phase encoding (logical) gradients. The pulse sequence parameters related to data encoding and acquisition are discussed. The concepts of Fourier transformation and k-space are introduced.

PHYSICS UNIT VIII ( 9 Hours): Pulse Sequence Parameters and Image Artifacts

The interactions between pulse sequence parameters and their effects on image contrast, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and scan time are learned. Image artifacts and their correction solutions by varying sequence parameters will also be discussed.

PHYSICS UNIT IX ( 9 Hours): Advanced Pulse Sequences

This unit will detail the design of pulse sequences. Fast spin echo is introduced, including its applications in fast inversion recovery sequences. The different types of gradient echo sequences are explained, as well as their applications to MR Angiography and cardiac MRI. Echo planar imaging (EPI) is briefly discussed.

PHYSICS UNIT X (9 HOURS): Advanced Applications

As MRI evolves, more clinical and research applications are developed and refined. This unit will discuss
advanced applications of MR imaging.
Career Majors That Sequence This Course
Career Cluster Pathway Career Major
Health Science Diagnostic Services Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technician