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Phys Med Biol. 2012 Nov 21;57(22):7689-708. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/57/22/7689. Epub 2012 Nov 2.

Three-dimensional noninvasive ultrasound Joule heat tomography based on the acousto-electric effect using unipolar pulses: a simulation study.

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School of Instrument Science and Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, People's Republic of China.


Electrical properties of biological tissues are highly sensitive to their physiological and pathological status. Thus it is of importance to image electrical properties of biological tissues. However, spatial resolution of conventional electrical impedance tomography (EIT) is generally poor. Recently, hybrid imaging modalities combining electric conductivity contrast and ultrasonic resolution based on the acousto-electric effect has attracted considerable attention. In this study, we propose a novel three-dimensional (3D) noninvasive ultrasound Joule heat tomography (UJHT) approach based on the acousto-electric effect using unipolar ultrasound pulses. As the Joule heat density distribution is highly dependent on the conductivity distribution, an accurate and high-resolution mapping of the Joule heat density distribution is expected to give important information that is closely related to the conductivity contrast. The advantages of the proposed ultrasound Joule heat tomography using unipolar pulses include its simple inverse solution, better performance than UJHT using common bipolar pulses and its independence of a priori knowledge of the conductivity distribution of the imaging object. Computer simulation results show that using the proposed method, it is feasible to perform a high spatial resolution Joule heat imaging in an inhomogeneous conductive media. Application of this technique on tumor scanning is also investigated by a series of computer simulations.

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