MRI is based on the magnetization properties of atomic nuclei. A powerful, uniform, external magnetic field is employed to align the protons that are normally randomly oriented within the water nuclei of the tissue being examined. This alignment (or magnetization) is next perturbed or disrupted by introduction of an external Radio Frequency (RF) energy. The nuclei return to their resting alignment through various relaxation processes and in so doing emit RF energy. After a certain period following the initial RF, the emitted signals are measured. Fourier transformation is used to convert the frequency information contained in the signal from each location in the imaged plane to corresponding intensity levels, which are then displayed as shades of gray in a matrix arrangement of pixels. By varying the sequence of RF pulses applied & collected, different types of images are created. Repetition Time (TR) is the amount of time between successive pulse sequences applied to the same slice. Time to Echo (TE) is the time between the delivery of the RF pulse and the receipt of the echo signal.
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