Sparse-spokes pulses are 2D slice-selective pulses that effectively mitigate inhomogeneities in the transmitted RF field and reduce unwanted RF artifacts in MR images. Here we consider the practical design of such pulses for high-field MRI and demonstrate limitations of the technique. We analyze the performance of pulses considering input noise as well as other effects such as saturation and T2( *) relaxation. We discuss in detail the correspondence between the reduction of RF inhomogeneities and the fidelity of the input parameters, such as the transmit B1+ field map and combined phase of the main B0 field and eddy-currents. Results include simulations, utilizing 7 T field maps acquired in phantoms and in-vivo, as well as in-vivo experiments. The necessary performance of system hardware components to achieve significant improvements is described.
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