Advanced 3-D Ultrasound Imaging. 3-D Synthetic Aperture Imaging and Row-column Addressing of 2-D Transducer Arrays

Morten Fischer Rasmussen

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

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The main purpose of the PhD project was to develop methods that increase the 3-D ultrasound imaging quality available for the medical personnel in the clinic. Acquiring a 3-D volume gives the medical doctor the freedom to investigate the measured anatomy in any slice desirable after the scan has been completed. This allows for precise measurements of organs dimensions and makes the scan more operator independent. Real-time 3-D ultrasound imaging is still not as widespread in use in the clinics as 2-D imaging. A limiting factor has traditionally been the low image quality achievable using a channel limited 2-D transducer array and the conventional 3-D beamforming technique, Parallel Beamforming. The first part of the scientific contributions demonstrate that 3-D synthetic aperture imaging achieves a better image quality than the Parallel Beamforming technique. Data were obtained using both Field II simulations and measurements with the ultrasound research scanner SARUS and a 3.5MHz 1024 element 2-D transducer array. In all investigations, 3-D synthetic aperture imaging achieved a smaller main-lobe, lower sidelobes, higher contrast, and better signal to noise ratio than parallel beamforming. This is achieved partly because synthetic aperture imaging removes the limitation of a fixed transmit focal depth and instead enables dynamic transmit focusing. Lately, the major ultrasound companies have produced ultrasound scanners using 2-D transducer arrays with enough transducer elements to produce high quality 3-D images. Because of the large matrix transducers with integrated custom electronics, these systems are extremely expensive. The relatively low price of ultrasound scanners is one of the factors for the widespread use of ultrasound imaging. The high price tag on the high quality 3-D scanners is limiting their market share. Row-column addressing of 2-D transducer arrays is a low cost alternative to fully addressed 2-D arrays, for 3-D ultrasound imaging. Using row-column addressing, the number of transducer elements is dramatically reduced. This reduces the interconnection cost and removes the need to integrate custom made electronics into the probe. A downside of row-column addressing 2-D arrays is the creation of secondary temporal lobes, or ghost echoes, in the point spread function. In the second part of the scientific contributions, row-column addressing of 2-D arrays was investigated. An analysis of how the ghost echoes can be attenuated was presented.Attenuating the ghost echoes were shown to be achieved by minimizing the first derivative of the apodization function. In the literature, a circular symmetric apodization function was proposed. A new apodization layout that addresses the drawbacks of the circular symmetric apodization function was proposed and described. The new layout was shown to be effective in both simulations and with measurements on in-house produced CMUT arrays. The measurements included both intensity measurements of the edge waves and imaging of a wire phantom. New methods of integrating arbitrary apodization functions into the transducer array were proposed. The main part of the thesis consists of eight scientific papers submitted for international conferences and journals during the PhD project.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherTechnical University of Denmark, Department of Electrical Engineering
Number of pages274
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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