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PURPOSE: To propose a method for calibrating gradient systems and correcting gradient nonlinearities based on diffusion MRI measurements. METHODS: The gradient scaling in x, y, and z were first offset by up to 5% from precalibrated values to simulate a poorly calibrated system. Diffusion MRI data were acquired in a phantom filled with cyclooctane, and corrections for gradient scaling errors and nonlinearity were determined. The calibration was assessed with diffusion tensor imaging and independently validated with high resolution anatomical MRI of a second structured phantom. RESULTS: The errors in apparent diffusion coefficients along orthogonal axes ranged from -9.2% ± 0.4% to + 8.8% ± 0.7% before calibration and -0.5% ± 0.4% to + 0.8% ± 0.3% after calibration. Concurrently, fractional anisotropy decreased from 0.14 ± 0.03 to 0.03 ± 0.01. Errors in geometric measurements in x, y and z ranged from -5.5% to + 4.5% precalibration and were likewise reduced to -0.97% to + 0.23% postcalibration. Image distortions from gradient nonlinearity were markedly reduced. CONCLUSION: Periodic gradient calibration is an integral part of quality assurance in MRI. The proposed approach is both accurate and efficient, can be setup with readily available materials, and improves accuracy in both anatomical and diffusion MRI to within ±1%. Magn Reson Med 77:170-179, 2017. © 2016 The Authors Magnetic Resonance in Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

Original publication




Journal article


Magn Reson Med

Publication Date





170 - 179


cyclooctane, diffusion MRI, gradient calibration, gradient nonlinearity, quantitative MRI, Calibration, Cyclooctanes, Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Nonlinear Dynamics, Phantoms, Imaging