Optimal experimental design and estimation for q-space trajectory imaging

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Human Brain Mapping (In Press)


Tensor-valued diffusion encoding facilitates data analysis by q-space trajectory imaging. By modeling the diffusion signal of heterogeneous tissues with a diffusion tensor distribution (DTD) and modulating the encoding tensor shape, this novel approach allows disentangling variations in diffusivity from microscopic anisotropy, orientation dispersion, and mixtures of multiple isotropic diffusivities. To facilitate the estimation of the DTD parameters, a parsimonious acquisition scheme coupled with an accurate and precise estimation of the DTD is needed. In this work, we create two precision-optimized acquisition schemes: one that maximizes the precision of the raw DTD parameters, and another that maximizes the precision of the scalar measures derived from the DTD. The improved precision of these schemes compared to a naive sampling scheme is demonstrated in both simulations and real data. Furthermore, we show that the weighted linear least squares (WLLS) estimator that uses the squared reciprocal of the noisy signal as weights can be biased, whereas the iteratively WLLS estimator with the squared reciprocal of the predicted signal as weights outperforms the conventional unweighted linear LS and nonlinear LS estimators in terms of accuracy and precision. Finally, we show that the use of appropriate constraints can considerably increase the precision of the estimator with only a limited decrease in accuracy.