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Chirp-encoded excitation for dual-frequency ultrasound tissue harmonic imaging

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2 Author(s)
Che-Chou Shen ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Nat. Taiwan Univ. of Sci. & Technol., Taipei, Taiwan ; Chin-Hsiang Lin

Dual-frequency (DF) transmit waveforms comprise signals at two different frequencies. With a DF transmit waveform operating at both fundamental frequency ( f0) and second-harmonic frequency 2f(0), tissue harmonic imaging can be simultaneously performed using not only the conventional 2f0 second-harmonic signal but also using the f0frequency difference harmonic signal. Nonetheless, when chirp excitation is incorporated into the DF transmit waveform for harmonic SNR improvement, a particular waveform design is required to maintain the bandwidth of the f0 harmonic signal. In this study, two different DF chirp waveforms are proposed to produce equal harmonic bandwidth at both the f0 and 2f0 frequencies to achieve speckle reduction by harmonic spectral compounding and to increase harmonic SNR for enhanced penetration and sensitivity. The UU13 waveform comprises an up-sweeping f0 chirp and an up-sweeping 2f0 chirp with triple bandwidth, whereas the UD11 waveform includes an up-sweeping f0 chirp and a down-sweeping 2f0 chirp with equal bandwidth. Experimental results indicate that the UU13 tends to suffer from a high range side lobe level resulting from 3f0 interference. Consequently, the 2f0 harmonic envelopes of the UD11 and the UU13 waveforms have compression qualities of 87% and 77%, respectively, when the signal bandwidth is 30%. When the bandwidth increases to 50%, the compression quality of the 2f0 harmonic envelope degrades to 78% and 54%, respectively, for the UD11 and the UU13 waveforms. The compression quality value of the f0 harmonic envelope remains similar between the two DF transmit waveforms for all signal bandwidths. B-mode harmonic images also show that the UD11 is less contaminated by range side lobe artifacts than is the UU13. Compared with a short pulse with equal bandwidth, the UD11 waveform not onl- preserves the same spatial resolution after compression but also improves the image SNR by about 10 dB. Moreover, the image contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR), defined as the ratio of the mean to the standard deviation of image intensity in the speckle region, can be increased from 1.0 to about 1.2 when DF spectral compounding is performed. Therefore, it is concluded that the UD11 waveform is a potential solution for chirp-encoded DF harmonic imaging.

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Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:59 ,  Issue: 11 )