In the paper the concept of synthetic aperture used for high resolution/high frame rate ultrasonic imaging is reviewed. The synthetic aperture technique allows building extended “virtual” apertures, synthesized from smaller real aperture resulting in improved lateral resolution along full penetration depth without sacrificing the frame rate. Especially, four methods, synthetic aperture focusing (SAF), multi-element synthetic aperture focusing (M-SAF), synthetic receive aperture (SRA) and synthetic transmit aperture (STA) are addressed. The effective aperture function, describing two-way, far field radiation is a useful tool in beam pattern analysis. Some basic notations, which are used to calculate the effective aperture are introduced in Appendix.
Texture of ultrasound images contain information about the properties of examined tissues. The analysis of statistical properties of backscattered ultrasonic echoes has been recently successfully applied to differentiate healthy breast tissue from the benign and malignant lesions. We propose a novel procedure of tissue characterization based on acquiring backscattered echoes from the heated breast. We have proved that the temperature increase inside the breast modifies the intensity, spectrum of the backscattered signals and the probability density function of envelope samples. We discuss the differences in probability density functions in two types of tissue regions, e.g. cysts and the surrounding glandular tissue regions. Independently, Pennes bioheat equation in heterogeneous breast tissue was used to describe the heating process. We applied the finite element method to solve this equation. Results have been compared with the ultrasonic predictions of the temperature distribution. The results confirm the possibility of distinguishing the differences in thermal and acoustical properties of breast cyst and surrounding glandular tissues.