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A new formulation for obtaining the absolute backscatter coefficient from pulse-echo measurements is presented. Using this formulation, performing the diffraction correction and system calibration is straightforward. The diffraction correction function for the measurement of backscatter coefficient and the acoustic coupling function for a pulse-echo system are defined. Details of these functions for two very useful cases are presented: a flat disk transducer and a spherically focused transducer. Approximations of these functions are also provided. For a flat disk transducer, the final formulation appears as a modification to the established Sigelmann-Reid formulation. For a focused transducer, the final correction is a weak function of frequency when the scattering volume is near the focal area, rather than the frequency squared dependence proposed by earlier investigators.