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Coded excitation is currently used in medical ultrasound to increase signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and penetration depth. We propose a chirp excitation method for contrast agents using the second harmonic component of the response. This method is based on a compression filter that selectively compresses and extracts the second harmonic component from the received echo signal. Simulations have shown a clear increase in response for chirp excitation over pulse excitation with the same peak amplitude. This was confirmed by two-dimensional (2-D) optical observations of bubble response with a fast framing camera. To evaluate the harmonic compression method, we applied it to simulated bubble echoes, to measured propagation harmonics, and to B-mode scans of a flow phantom and compared it to regular pulse excitation imaging. An increase of approximately 10 dB in SNR was found for chirp excitation. The compression method was found to perform well in terms of resolution. Axial resolution was in all cases within 10% of the axial resolution from pulse excitation. Range side-lobe levels were 30 dB below the main lobe for the simulated bubble echoes and measured propagation harmonics. However, side-lobes were visible in the B-mode contrast images.
Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:52 , Issue: 2 )
Date of Publication: Feb. 2005