Providing accurate gradient currents is challenging due to the gradient chain nonlinearities, arising from gradient power amplifiers and power supply stages. This work introduces a new characterization approach that takes the amplifier and power supply into account, resulting in a nonlinear model that compensates for the current droop.
The gradient power amplifier and power supply stage were characterized by a modified state‐space averaging technique. The resulting nonlinear model was inverted and used in feedforward to control the gradient coil current. A custom‐built two‐channel z‐gradient coil was driven by high‐switching (1 MHz), low‐cost amplifiers (<$200) using linear and nonlinear controllers. High‐resolution (<80 ps) pulse‐width‐modulation signals were used to drive the amplifiers. MRI experiments were performed to validate the nonlinear controller's effectiveness.
The simulation results validated the functionality of the state‐space averaging method in characterizing the gradient system. The performance of linear and nonlinear controllers in generating a trapezoidal current waveform was compared in simulations and experiments. The integral errors between the desired waveform and waveforms generated by linear and nonlinear controllers were 1.9% and 0.13%, respectively, confirming the capability of the nonlinear controller to compensate for the current droop. Phantom images validated the nonlinear controller's ability to correct droop‐induced distortions.
Benchtop measurements and MRI experiments demonstrated that the proposed nonlinear characterization and digitally implemented feedforward controller could drive gradient coils with droop‐free current waveforms (without a feedback loop). In experiments, the nonlinear controller outperformed the linear controller by a 14‐fold reduction in the integral error of a test waveform.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.