Extending LOUPE for K-space Under-sampling Pattern Optimization in Multi-coil MRI

The previously established LOUPE (Learning-based Optimization of the Under-sampling Pattern) framework for optimizing the k-space sampling pattern in MRI was extended in three folds: firstly, fully sampled multi-coil k-space data from the scanner, rather than simulated k-space data from magnitude MR images in LOUPE, was retrospectively under-sampled to optimize the under-sampling pattern of in-vivo k-space data; secondly, binary stochastic k-space sampling, rather than approximate stochastic k-space sampling of LOUPE during training, was applied together with a straight-through (ST) estimator to estimate the gradient of the threshold operation in a neural network; thirdly, modified unrolled optimization network, rather than modified U-Net in LOUPE, was used as the reconstruction network in order to reconstruct multi-coil data properly and reduce the dependency on training data. Experimental results show that when dealing with the in-vivo k-space data, unrolled optimization network with binary under-sampling block and ST estimator had better reconstruction performance compared to the ones with either U-Net reconstruction network or approximate sampling pattern optimization network, and once trained, the learned optimal sampling pattern worked better than the hand-crafted variable density sampling pattern when deployed with other conventional reconstruction methods...

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