2.1 Introduction

The property of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) was first described by Purcell [1] and Bloch [2] in 1946, work for which they received the Nobel prize in 1952. Since then NMR has become a powerful tool in the analysis of chemical composition and structure. In 1973 Lauterbur [3] and Mansfield [4] used the principles of NMR to describe a technique for determining physical structure. Since then Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has been used in many biomedical, chemical and engineering applications.

In this chapter the theoretical foundations, first of nuclear magnetic resonance and then magnetic resonance imaging are explained. Then the practical implementation of MRI is outlined, and an explanation of the artefacts that affect MR images given. The chapter ends with a discussion of the safety of MRI as a medical imaging modality. This chapter serves only as an outline of the basic principles of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging. More detail is found in the standard texts on the subject, such as those by Abragamm [5], and Callaghan [6].

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