ECE 480
Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Section Type Times Days Location Instructor
S LEC 1400 - 1520 T R   3013 ECE Building  Zhi-Pei Liang
Web Page
Official Description Fundamental physical, mathematical, and computational principles governing the data acquisition and image reconstruction of magnetic resonance imaging. Course Information: Same as BIOE 480. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 or 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: Recommended: ECE 310.
Subject Area Biomedical Imaging, Bioengineering, and Acoustics
Course Prerequisites Credit in ECE 210
Credit in ECE 380
Course Directors Zhi-Pei Liang
Detailed Description and Outline


  • Basic physical principles for signal generation and detection: magnetized spin systems; RF excitations; MR signal detection and characteristics
  • Imaging principles: selective excitations; phase-encoding; frequency-encoding; k-space sampling trajectories
  • Image reconstruction techniques: concepts of ill-posedness and point spread function; computational techniques for image reconstruction from sampled Fourier transform and Radon transform data
  • Image contrast, resolution, signal-to-noise, and artifacts: MR contrast mechanisms; resolution limitations; noise characteristics; motion artifacts
  • Fast-scan imaging: fast spin-echo imaging; fast gradient-echo imaging; echo-planar imaging; and burst exitations
  • Constrained imaging: concepts of image reconstruction with a priori constraints

Same as: BIOE 480

Z-P. Liang and P. C. Lauterbur, Principles of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, IEEE press.
Course Goals

This course is optional for both electrical engineering and computer engineering majors. The goals are to teach ECE students or Bioengineering students fundamental engineering principles of MR imaging and applications.

Instructional Objectives

A. After 4 lectures, the student should be able to do the following:

1. Perform basic vector operation.

2. Calculate the Fourier transform of an image function.

3. Calculate the Radon transform of an image function.

4. Understand the basic properties of the Fourier transform and Radon transform in the context of magnetic resonance imaging.

B. After 13 lectures, the student should be able to do all of the items listed under A, plus the following:

5. Understand the behavior of a nuclear spin system placed in a strong static magnetic field; specifically, the Zeeman splitting phenomenon, Boltzmann distribution, nuclear precession.

6. Understand what an RF pulse and the on-resonance excitation condition.

7. Use the vector model to calculate the effects of on- and off-resonance excitations.

8. Use the vector model to describe the formation of spin-echo signals.

9. Mathematically describe an FID signal and a spin-echo signal.

C. After 18 lectures, the student should be able to do all of the items listed under A and B, plus the following:

10. Design slice-selective RF pulses.

11. Design phase-encoding gradient pulses.

12. Design frequency-encoding pulses.

13. Describe the k-space sampling trajectories of a given imaging scheme.

D. After 25 lectures, the student should be able to do all of the items listed under A, B and C, plus the following:

10. Reconstruct an image from measured Fourier transform samples.

11. Reconstruct an image from measured Radon transform samples.

12. Describe the resolution limitation in Fourier imaging and backprojection imaging.

13. Describe the noise characteristics of Fourier and backprojection imaging.

14. Characterize Gibbs’ artifact, aliasing artifact, motion artifacts, clipping artifacts, and chemical shift artifacts.

E. By the time of the Final Exam (29 lectures + review), the student should be able to do all of the items listed under A, B, C, D, plus the following:

15. Design a basic spin-echo imaging sequence.

16. Design a basic gradient-echo imaging sequence.

17. Design a fast spin-echo imaging sequence.

18. Design a fast gradient-echo imaging sequence.

19. Design a basic echo-planar imaging sequence.

20. Design a burst imaging sequence.

Last updated: 5/23/2013