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Several dual-mode ultrasound array (DMUA) systems are being investigated for potential use in image- guided surgery. In therapeutic mode, DMUAs generate pulsed or continuous-wave (CW) high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) beams capable of generating localized therapeutic effects within the focal volume. In imaging mode, pulse-echo data can be collected from the DMUA elements to obtain B-mode images or other forms of feedback on the state of the target tissue before, during, and after the application of the therapeutic HIFU beam. Therapeutic and technological constraints give rise to special characteristics of therapeutic arrays. Specifically, DMUAs have concave apertures with low f-number values and are typically coarsely sampled using directive elements. These characteristics necessitate pre- and post-beamforming signal processing of echo data to improve the spatial and contrast resolution and maximize the image uniformity within the imaging field of view (IxFOV). We have recently developed and experimentally validated beamforming algorithms for concave large-aperture DMUAs with directive elements. Experimental validation was performed using a 1 MHz, 64- element, concave spherical aperture with 100 mm radius of curvature. The aperture was sampled in the lateral direction using elongated elements 1 - lambda times 33.3macr - lambda with 1.333macr - lambda center-to-center spacing (lambda is the wavelength). This resulted in f-number values of 0.8 and 2 in the azimuth and elevation directions, respectively. In this paper, we present a new DMUA design approach based on different sampling of the shared concave aperture to improve image quality while maintaining therapeutic performance. A pulse-wave (PW) simulation model using a modified version of the Field II program is used in this study. The model is used in generating pulse-echo data for synthetic-aperture (SA) beamforming for forming images of a variety of targets, e.g., wire arrays and speckle-generating cyst - hantoms. To provide validation for the simulation model and illustrate the improvements in image quality, we show SA images of similar targets using pulse-echo data acquired experimentally using our existing 64-element prototype. The PW simulation model is used to investigate the effect of transducer bandwidth as well as finer sampling of the concave DMUA aperture on the image quality. The results show that modest increases in the sampling density and transducer bandwidth result in significant improvement in spatial and contrast resolutions in addition to extending the DMUA IxFOV.
Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:55 , Issue: 8 )
Date of Publication: August 2008