Ultrasonic methods of human body internal structures imaging are being continuously enhanced. New algorithms are created to improve certain output parameters. A synthetic aperture method (SA) is an example which allows to display images at higher frame-rate than in case of conventional beam-forming method. Higher computational complexity is a limitation of SA method and it can prevent from obtaining a desired reconstruction time. This problem can be solved by neglecting a part of data. Obviously it implies a decrease of imaging quality, however a proper data reduction technique would minimize the image degradation. A proposed way of data reduction can be used with synthetic transmit aperture method (STA) and it bases on an assumption that a signal obtained from any pair of transducers is the same, no matter which transducer transmits and which receives. According to this postulate, nearly a half of the data can be ignored without image quality decrease. The presented results of simulations and measurements with use of wire and tissue phantom prove that the proposed data reduction technique reduces the amount of data to be processed by half, while maintaining resolution and allowing only a small decrease of SNR and contrast of resulting images.
Synthetic aperture (SA) technique is a novel approach to present day commercial systems and has previously not been used in medical ultrasound imaging. The basic idea of SA is to combine information acquired simultaneously from all directions over a number of emissions and to reconstruct the full image from these data. The paper presents the multi-element STA (MSTA) method for medical ultrasound imaging. The main difference with the STA approach is the use of a few elements in the transmit mode in contrast to a single element aperture. This allows increasing the system frame rate, decreasing the number of emissions, and provides the best compromise between the penetration depth and lateral resolution. Besides, a modified MSTA is proposed with a corresponding RF signal correction in the receive mode, which accounts for the element directivity property. In the experiments a 32-element linear transducer array with 0.48 mm inter-element spacing and a burst pulse of 100 ns duration were used. Two elements wide transmission aperture was used to generate an ultrasound wave covering the full image region. The comparison of 2D ultrasound images of a tissue mimicking phantom obtained using the STA and MSTA methods is presented to demonstrate the benefits of the second one.
The paper presents the optimization problem for the multi-element synthetic transmit aperture method (MSTA) in ultrasound imaging applications. The optimal choice of the transmit aperture size is made as a trade-off between the lateral resolution, penetration depth and the frame rate. Results of the analysis obtained by a developed optimization algorithm are presented. The maximum penetration depth and lateral resolution at given depths are chosen as optimization criteria. The results of numerical experiments carried out in MATLAB® using synthetic aperture data of point reflectors obtained by the FIELD II simulation program are presented. The visualization of experimental synthetic aperture data of a tissue mimicking phantom and in vitro measurements of the beef liver performed using the SonixTOUCH Research system are also shown.
The paper presents the theoretical and experimental study of synthetic transmit aperture (STA) method combined with Golay coded transmission for medical ultrasound imaging applications. The transmission of long waveforms characterized by a particular autocorrelation function allows to increase the total energy of the transmitted signal without increasing the peak pressure. It can also improve signal-to-noise ratio and increase the visualization depth maintaining the ultrasound image resolution. In the work the 128-element linear transducer array with 0.3 mm pitch excited by the 8 and 16-bits Golay coded sequences as well as a one cycle at nominal frequencies 4 MHz were used. The comparison of 2D ultrasound images of the tissue mimicking phantoms is presented to demonstrate the benefits of coded transmission. The image reconstruction was performed using synthetic STA algorithm with transmit and receive signals correction based on a single element directivity function.
The use of therapeutic ultrasound continues to grow. A focused ultrasonic wave can increase the tissue temperature locally for the non-invasive cancer treatment or other medical applications. The authors have designed a seven-element annular array transducer operating at 2.4 MHz. Each element was excited by sine burst supplied by a linear amplifier and FPGA control circuits. The acoustic field, generated by a transducer was initially numerically simulated in a computer and next compared to water tank hydrophone measurements performed at 20, 40 and 60 mm focal depth. The results showed good agreement of the measurements with theory and the possibility to focus the ultrasound in the preselected area. The total acoustic power radiated by the annular array was equal to 2.4 W.
Recently a new technology of piezoelectric transducers based on PZT thick film has been developed as a response to a call for devices working at higher frequencies suitable for production in large numbers at low cost. Eight PZT thick film based focused transducers with resonant frequency close to 40 MHz were fabricated and experimentally investigated. The PZT thick films were deposited on acoustically engineered ceramic substrates by pad printing. Considering high frequency and non-linear propagation it has been decided to evaluate the axial pressure field emitted (and reflected by thick metal plate) by each of concave transducer differing in radius of curvature - 11 mm, 12 mm, 15 mm, 16 mm. All transducers were activated using AVTEC AVG-3A-PS transmitter and Ritec diplexer connected directly to Agilent 54641D oscilloscope. As anticipated, in all cases the focal distance was up to 10% closer to the transducer face than the one related to the curvature radius. Axial pressure distributions were also compared to the calculated ones (with the experimentally determined boundary conditions) using the angular spectrum method including nonlinear propagation in water. The computed results are in a very good agreement with the experimental ones. The transducers were excited with Golay coded sequences at 35-40 MHz. Introducing the coded excitation allowed replacing the short-burst transmission at 20 MHz with the same peak amplitude pressure, but with almost double center frequency, resulting in considerably better axial resolution. The thick films exhibited at least 30% bandwidth broadening comparing to the standard PZ 27 transducer, resulting in an increase in matching filtering output by a factor of 1.4-1.5 and finally resulting in a SNR gain of the same order.