|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign | Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering | Department of Bioengineering
Department of Statistics | Coordinated Science Laboratory | Beckman Institute | Food Science and Human Nutrition | Division of Nutritional Sciences | College of Engineering
|Wednesday, December 7th, 2022|
Synthetic Aperture Imaging
Synthetic aperture techniques with a virtual source element.
A new imaging technique has been proposed1 that combines conventional B-mode and synthetic aperture imaging techniques to overcome the limited depth of field for a highly focused transducer. The new technique improves lateral resolution beyond the focus of the transducer by considering the focus a virtual element and applying synthetic aperture focusing techniques. In this paper, the use of the focus as a virtual element is examined, considering the issues that are of concern when imaging with an array of actual elements: the tradeoff between lateral resolution and sidelobe level, the tradeoff between system complexity (channel count/amount of computation) and the appearance of grating lobes, and the issue of signal to noise ratio (SNR) of the processed image.
To examine these issues, pulse-echo RF signals are collected for a tungsten wire in degassed water, monofilament nylon wires in a tissue-mimicking phantom, and cyst targets in the phantom. Results show apodization lowers the sidelobes, but only at the expense of lateral resolution, as is the case for classical synthetic aperture imaging. Grating lobes are not significant until spatial sampling is more than one wavelength, when the beam is not steered. Resolution comparable to the resolution at the transducer focus can be achieved beyond the focal region while obtaining an acceptable SNR. Specifically, for a 15-MHz focused transducer, the 6-dB beamwidth at the focus is 157 microns and with synthetic aperture processing the 6-dB beamwidths at 3, 5, and 7 mm beyond the focus are 189 microns, 184 microns, and 215 microns, respectively. The image SNR is 38.6 dB when the wire is at the focus, and it is 32.8 dB, 35.3 dB, and 38.1 dB after synthetic aperture processing when the wire is 3, 5, and 7 mm beyond the focus, respectively. With these experiments, the virtual source has been shown to exhibit the same behavior as an actual transducer element in response to synthetic aperture processing techniques. More detail on this study appears in the Frazier and O'Brien study of synthetic aperture technique(2).
1 C. Passman and H. Ermert, "A 100 MHz ultrasound imaging system for dermatologic and ophthalmologic diagnostics," IEEE Trans. Ultrason., Ferroelect., Freq. Cont., vol. 43, no. 4, pp.545-552, 1996.
2 C. Frazier and W. D. O'Brien, Jr., "Synthetic aperture techniques with a virtual
source element," IEEE Trans. Ultrason., Ferroelect., Freq. Cont., 45, 196-207, 1998.
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