RF pulse methods for use with surface coils: Frequency-modulated pulses and parallel transmission

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The first use of a surface coil to obtain a 31P NMR spectrum from an intact rat by Ackerman and colleagues initiated a revolution in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS). Today, we take it for granted that one can detect signals in regions external to an RF coil; at the time, however, this concept was most unusual. In the approximately four decade long period since its introduction, this simple idea gave birth to an increasing number of innovations that has led to transformative changes in the way we collect data in an in vivo magnetic resonance experiment, particularly with MRI of humans. These innovations include spatial localization and/or encoding based on the non-uniform B1 field generated by the surface coil, leading to new spectroscopic localization methods, image acceleration, and unique RF pulses that deal with B1 inhomogeneities and even reduce power deposition. Without the surface coil, many of the major technological advances that define the extraordinary success of MRI in clinical diagnosis and in biomedical research, as exemplified by projects like the Human Connectome Project, would not have been possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-93
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance
StatePublished - Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering under Award Numbers P41EB015894 , U01 EB0025144 , and U01 EB025153 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.


  • Adiabatic pulse
  • Array coil
  • B1 inhomogeneity
  • Frequency-modulated
  • MRI
  • MRS
  • Parallel transmission
  • Radiofrequency pulse
  • Surface coil
  • Ultrahigh field
  • pTx


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