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Viscoelastic property measurement in thin tissue constructs using ultrasound

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2 Author(s)
Dalong Liu ; Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis ; Ebbini, E.S.

We present a dual-element concave ultrasound transducer system for generating and tracking of localized tissue displacements in thin tissue constructs on rigid substrates. The system is comprised of a highly focused PZT-4 5-MHz acoustic radiation force (ARF) transducer and a confocal 25-MHz polyvinylidene fluoride imaging transducer. This allows for the generation of measurable displacements in tissue samples on rigid substrates with thickness values down to 500 mum. Impulse-like and longer duration sine-modulated ARF pulses are possible with intermittent M-mode data acquisition for displacement tracking. The operations of the ARF and imaging transducers are strictly synchronized using an integrated system for arbitrary waveform generation and data capture with a shared timebase. This allows for virtually jitter-free pulse-echo data well suited for correlation-based speckle tracking. With this technique we could faithfully capture the entire dynamics of the tissue axial deformation at pulse-repetition frequency values up to 10 kHz. Spatio-temporal maps of tissue displacements in response to a variety of modulated ARF beams were produced in tissue-mimicking elastography phantoms on rigid substrates. The frequency response was measured for phantoms with different modulus and thickness values. The frequency response exhibited resonant behavior with the resonance frequency being inversely proportional to the sample thickness. This resonant behavior can be used in obtaining high-contrast imaging using magnitude and phase response to sinusoidally modulated ARF beams. Furthermore, a second order forced harmonic oscillator (FHO) model was shown to capture this resonant behavior. Based on the FHO model, we used the extended Kalman filter (EKF) for tracking the apparent modulus and viscosity of samples subjected to dc and sinusoidally modulated ARF. The results show that the stiffness (apparent modulus) term in the FHO is largely time- invariant and can be estimated robustly - - using the EKF. On the other hand, the damping (apparent viscosity) is time varying. These findings were confirmed by comparing the magnitude response of the FHO (with parameters obtained using the EKF) with the measured ones for different thin tissue constructs.

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Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:55 ,  Issue: 2 )