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An ultrasonic imaging speckle-suppression and contrast-enhancement technique by means of frequency compounding and coded excitation

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2 Author(s)
Sanchez, J.R. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL ; Oelze, M.

A method for improving the contrast resolution of B-mode images is proposed by combining the speckle-reduction technique of frequency compounding (FC) and the coded-excitation and pulse-compression technique called resolution enhancement compression (REC). FC suppresses speckle but at the expense of a reduction in axial resolution. Using REC, the axial resolution and bandwidth of the imaging system was doubled. Therefore, by combining REC with FC (REC-FC), the tradeoff between axial resolution and contrast enhancement was extended significantly. Simulations and experimental measurements were conducted with a single-element transducer (f/2.66) having a center frequency of 2.25 MHz and a -3-dB bandwidth of 50%. Simulations and measurements of hyperechoic (+6 dB) tissue-mimicking targets were imaged. Four FC cases were evaluated: full-, half-, third-, and fourth-width of the true impulse response bandwidth. The image quality metrics used to compare REC-FC to conventional pulsing (CP) and CP-FC were contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR), speckle signal-to- noise ratio, histogram pixel intensity, and lesion signal-to-noise ratio. Increases in CNR of 121%, 231%, 302%, and 391% were obtained in experiments when comparing REC-FC for the full-, half-, third-, and fourth-width cases to CP. Furthermore, smaller increases in CNR of 112%, 233%, and 309% were obtained in experiments when comparing CP-FC for the half-, third-, and fourth-width cases to CP. Improved lesion detectability was observed by using REC-FC.

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Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:56 ,  Issue: 7 )