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Ultrasound Med Biol. 2011 Dec;37(12):2116-25. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2011.08.009. Epub 2011 Oct 26.

Effects of phase cancellation and receiver aperture size on broadband ultrasonic attenuation for trabecular bone in vitro.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, USA.


Phase cancellation in ultrasound due to large receiver size has been proposed as a contributing factor to the inaccuracy of estimating broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA), which is used to characterize bone quality. Transducers with aperture size ranging from 2 to 5 mm have been used in previous attempts to study the effect of phase cancellation. However, these receivers themselves are susceptible to phase cancellation because aperture size is close to one center wavelength (about 3 mm at 500 KHz in water). This study uses an ultra small receiver (aperture size: 0.2 mm) in conjunction with a newly developed two-dimensional (2-D) synthetic array system to investigate the effects of phase cancellation and receiver aperture size on BUA estimations of bone tissue. In vitro ultrasound measurements were conducted on 54 trabecular bone samples (harvested from sheep femurs) in a confocal configuration with a focused transmitter and synthesized focused receivers of different aperture sizes. Phase sensitive (PS) and phase insensitive (PI) detections were performed. The results show that phase cancellation does have a significant effect on BUA. The normalized BUA (nBUA) with PS is 8.1% higher than PI nBUA while PI BUA is well correlated with PS BUA. Receiver aperture size also influences the BUA reading for both PI and PS detection and smaller receiver aperture tends to result in higher BUA readings. The results also indicate that the receiver aperture size used in the confocal configuration with PI detection should at least equal the aperture of the transmitter to capture most of the energy redistributed by the interference and diffraction from the trabecular bone.

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