Diffusion is the process that leads to the mixing of substances as a result of spontaneous and random thermal motion of individual atoms and molecules. It was first detected by the English botanist Robert Brown in 1827, and the phenomenon became known as ‘Brownian motion’. More specifically, the motion observed by Brown was translational diffusion – thermal motion resulting in random variations of the position of a molecule. This type of motion was given a correct theoretical interpretation in 1905 by Albert Einstein, who derived the relationship between temperature, the viscosity of the medium, the size of the diffusing molecule, and its diffusion coefficient. It is translational diffusion that is indirectly observed in MR diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI). The relationship obtained by Einstein provides the physical basis for using translational diffusion to probe the microscopic environment surrounding the molecule. \u
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