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Effects Influencing Focusing in Synthetic Aperture Vector Flow Imaging

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2 Author(s)
Oddershede, N. ; Tech. Univ. of Denmark, Copenhagen ; Jensen, J.A.

Previously, a synthetic aperture vector velocity estimation method was proposed. Data are beamformed at different directions through a point, where the velocity is estimated. The flow direction is estimated by a search for the direction where the normalized cross-correlation peaks and the velocity magnitude along this direction are found. In this paper, different effects that influence the focusing in this method are investigated. These include the effect of phase errors in the emitted spherical waves, motion effects, and the effect of various interpolation methods in beam- forming. A model based on amplitude drop and phase error for spherical waves created using the virtual source concept is derived. This model can be used to determine the opening angle of a virtual source. Simulations for different virtual source placements are made, and it is recommended that the virtual sources be placed behind the aperture when shallow structures are imaged, and when deeper-lying structures are imaged the virtual sources be placed in front of the aperture. Synthetic aperture methods involve summation of data from numerous emissions. Motion between these emissions results in incoherence and affects resolution, contrast, and the signal-to-noise ratio. The effects of motion on the synthetic aperture vector velocity estimation method are investigated, and it is shown that for both axial and lateral motion, the contrast and signal-to-noise ratio can be seriously affected. A compensation method using the previous vector velocity estimate, when new data are beamformed, is implemented and tested. It is shown from a number of flow phantom experiments that a significant improvement with respect to bias and standard deviation of the velocity estimates can be obtained by using this compensation. Increased performance is gained at the expense of computation time. Different interpolation methods can be used for beam- forming the data. In this paper, the velocity estimation performance using - - various more complex interpolation schemes are compared to that using linear interpolation. No significant difference in the performance of the method is seen when other interpolation methods are used.

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Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:54 ,  Issue: 9 )