A method of magnetic resonance imaging based on rapid acquisition by sequential excitation and refocusing is provided. The method comprises turning on a first time-encoding gradient and applying an excitation pulse in the presence of the first time-encoding gradient. The excitation pulse excites magnetization sequentially along one spatial axis. Thereafter, a first refocusing pulse is applied. A second time-encoding gradient is turned on followed by a second refocusing pulse. A third time-encoding gradient is turned on and a signal is acquired in the presence of the third time-encoding gradient. The third time-encoding gradient sums to zero with the first time-encoding gradient and the second time-encoding gradient for sequential points in space.
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 The work leading to this invention was supported in part by National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grant Numbers P41-RR008079; 1P30-NS057091-01; 1R01-CA092004-01A1 and also was supported in part by the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) MIND Grant Number 065-533-N1. U.S. Government therefore may have certain rights in the invention.