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Synthetic-focusing strategies for real-time annular-array imaging

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2 Author(s)
Ketterling, J.A. ; Lizzi Center for Biomedical Engineering, Riverside Research, New York, NY ; Filoux, E.

Annular arrays provide a means to achieve enhanced image quality with a limited number of elements. Synthetic-focusing (SF) strategies that rely on beamforming data from individual transmit-to-receive (TR) element pairs provide a means to improve image quality without specialized TR delay electronics. Here, SF strategies are examined in the context of high-frequency ultrasound (>15 MHz) annular arrays composed of five elements, operating at 18 and 38 MHz. Acoustic field simulations are compared with experimental data acquired from wire and anechoic-sphere phantoms, and the values of lateral beamwidth, SNR, contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR), and depth of field (DOF) are compared as a function of depth. In each case, data were acquired for all TR combinations (25 in total) and processed with SF using all 25 TR pairs and SF with the outer receive channels removed one by one. The results show that removing the outer receive channels led to an overall degradation of lateral resolution, an overall decrease in SNR, and did not reduce the DOF, although the DOF profile decreased in amplitude. The CNR was >1 and remained fairly constant as a function of depth, with a slight decrease in CNR for the case with just the central element receiving. The relative changes between the calculated and measured quantities were nearly identical for the 18- and 38-MHz arrays. B-mode images of the anechoic phantom and an in vivo mouse embryo using full SF with 25 TR pairs or reduced TR-pair approaches showed minimal qualitative difference.

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Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:59 ,  Issue: 8 )