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Parallel imaging is a powerful technique to speed up magnetic resonance (MR) image acquisition via multiple coils. Both the received signal of each coil and its sensitivity map, which describes its spatial response, are needed during reconstruction. Widely used schemes such as SENSE assume that sensitivity maps of the coils are noiseless while the only errors are in coil outputs. In practice, however, sensitivity maps are subject to a wide variety of errors. At first glance, sensitivity noise appears to result in an errors-in-variables problem of the kind that is typically solved using total least squares (TLSs). However, existing TLS algorithms are in general inappropriate for the specific type of block structure that arises in parallel imaging. In this paper, we take a maximum likelihood approach to the problem of parallel imaging in the presence of independent Gaussian sensitivity noise. This results in a quasi-quadratic objective function, which can be efficiently minimized. Experimental evidence suggests substantial gains over conventional SENSE, especially in nonideal imaging conditions like low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), high g-factors and large acceleration, using sensitivity maps suffering from misalignment, ringing, and random noise.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2007