180° RF pulse
A 180° RF pulse can rephase spins and reverse static field inhomogeneities.
After a 90° RF pulse, spins dephase and transverse magnetization decreases. If we apply a 180° RF pulse, spins rephase and transverse magnetization reappears.
How can a 180° RF pulse rephase spins? Consider the following race:
- Once the race starts (the relaxation begins), the turtle and the rabbit are at the same place (the starting line): they are in phase.
- As the rabbit runs faster, there is a distance between him and the turtle: they dephase.
- Then both have to turn around and go back (180° RF pulse)
- Assuming they are both going at the same speed as before, they arrive at the same time at the starting (finish) line : they rephase.
The 180° RF pulse restores phase coherence:
- After the 90° RF pulse spins dephase (during a time defined as TE/2)
- After the 180° RF pulse, spins are back in phase at time TE after the 90° RF pulse
- Then they dephase again.
At time TE (Echo Time), the signal is not as high as the initial transverse magnetization intensity. As the 180° RF pulse reverses dephasing due to static field inhomogeneities but not spin-spin relaxation, the signal loss is due to pure T2 effect.
The signal enveloppe joining maximums of echos after 180° RF pulses is corresponding to the pure T2 decay curve.