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Phys Med Biol. 2012 Jun 21;57(12):3675-91. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/57/12/3675. Epub 2012 May 22.

Effect of self-demodulation on the subharmonic response of contrast agent microbubbles.

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Biomedical Engineering, Thoraxcenter, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Subharmonic (SH) emission from the ultrasound contrast agent (UCA) is of interest since it is produced only by the UCA and not by tissue, opposite to harmonic imaging modes where both tissue and microbubble show harmonics. In this work, the use of the self-demodulation (S-D) signal as a means of microbubble excitation at the SH frequency to enhance the SH emission of UCA is studied. The S-D wave is a low-frequency signal produced by the weak nonlinear propagation of an ultrasound wave. It is proportional to the second time derivative of the squared envelope of the transmitted signal. A diluted population of BR14 UCA (Bracco Research SA, Geneva, Switzerland) was insonified by a 10 MHz transducer focused at 76 mm firing bursts with different envelopes, durations and peak pressure amplitudes. The center frequency of the S-D signal changes from low frequencies (around 0.5 MHz) toward the transmitted frequency (10 MHz) by modifying the envelope function from gaussian to rectangular. For 6 and 20 transmitted cycles, the SH response is enhanced up to 25 and 22 dB, respectively, when using a rectangular envelope instead of a gaussian one. The experimental results are confirmed by the numerical simulation. The effects of the excitation duration and pressure amplitude are also studied. This study shows that a suitable design of the envelope of the transmit excitation to generate a S-D signal at the SH frequency can enhance the SH emission of UCA, and the SH imaging is feasible at high frequencies with a shorter transmit burst (six-cycle) and low acoustic pressure (∼100 KPa).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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