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Use of modulated excitation signals in medical ultrasound. Part II: Design and performance for medical imaging applications.

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  • 1National Technical University of Athens, IASA, PO Box 17214, 10024 Athens, Greece. thmi@iasa.gr


In the first paper, the superiority of linear FM signals was shown in terms of signal-to-noise ratio and robustness to tissue attenuation. This second paper in the series of three papers on the application of coded excitation signals in medical ultrasound presents design methods of linear FM signals and mismatched filters, in order to meet the higher demands on resolution in ultrasound imaging. It is shown that for the small time-bandwidth (TB) products available in ultrasound, the rectangular spectrum approximation is not valid, which reduces the effectiveness of weighting. Additionally, the distant range sidelobes are associated with the ripples of the spectrum amplitude and, thus, cannot be removed by weighting. Ripple reduction is achieved through amplitude or phase predistortion of the transmitted signals. Mismatched filters are designed to efficiently use the available bandwidth and at the same time to be insensitive to the transducer's impulse response. With these techniques, temporal sidelobes are kept below 60 to 100 dB, image contrast is improved by reducing the energy within the sidelobe region, and axial resolution is preserved. The method is evaluated first for resolution performance and axial sidelobes through simulations with the program Field II. A coded excitation ultrasound imaging system based on a commercial scanner and a 4 MHz probe driven by coded sequences is presented and used for the clinical evaluation of the coded excitation/compression scheme. The clinical images show a significant improvement in penetration depth and contrast, while they preserve both axial and lateral resolution. At the maximum acquisition depth of 15 cm, there is an improvement of more than 10 dB in the signal-to-noise ratio of the images. The paper also presents acquired images, using complementary Golay codes, that show the deleterious effects of attenuation on binary codes when processed with a matched filter, also confirmed by presented simulated images.

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