Skip to Main Content
Imaging algorithms recently developed in ultrasonic nondestructive testing (NDT) have shown good potential for defect characterization. Many of them are based on the concept of collecting the full matrix of data, obtained by firing each element of an ultrasonic phased array independently, while collecting the data with all elements. Because of the finite sound velocity in the test structure, 2 consecutive firings must be separated by a minimum time interval. Depending on the number of elements in a given array, this may become problematic if data must be collected within a short time, as it is often the case, for example, in an industrial context. An obvious way to decrease the duration of data capture is to use a sparse transmit aperture, in which only a restricted number of elements are used to transmit ultrasonic waves. This paper compares 2 approaches aimed at producing an image on the basis of restricted data: the common source method and the effective aperture technique. The effective aperture technique is based on the far-field approximation, and no similar approach exists for the near-field. This paper investigates the performance of this technique in near-field conditions, where most NDT applications are made. First, these methods are described and their point spread functions are compared with that of the total focusing method (TFM), which consists of focusing the array at every point in the image. Then, a map of efficiency is given for the different algorithms in the nearfield. The map can be used to select the most appropriate algorithm. Finally, this map is validated by testing the different algorithms on experimental data.