We propose a novel compressed sensing technique to accelerate the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) acquisition process. The method, coined spread spectrum MRI or simply s2MRI, consists of pre-modulating the signal of interest by a linear chirp before random k-space under-sampling, and then reconstructing the signal with non-linear algorithms that promote sparsity. The effectiveness of the procedure is theoretically underpinned by the optimization of the coherence between the sparsity and sensing bases. The proposed technique is thoroughly studied by means of numerical simulations, as well as phantom and in vivo experiments on a 7T scanner. Our results suggest that s2MRI performs better than state-of-the-art variable density kspace under-sampling approaches.
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