Short data-acquisition times improve projection images of lung tissue.
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MR images of laboratory rat lungs that resolve the thin membranes that separate lung lobes are presented. It appears that the capabilities of in vivo small-animal pulmonary MRI may rival those of in vivo small-animal X-ray CT. Free induction decay (FID)-projection imaging was employed with particular attention to the choice of acquisition time. For a given nominal resolution, one obtains optimal point discrimination when the acquisition time T(acq) normalized by the signal decay time constant T(2)(*) is approximately 0.8-0.9, although a better signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is obtained when this quotient is 1.6. Currently available equipment should be able to even exceed the results presented herein.