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Proc Inst Mech Eng H. 2016 Jan;230(1):20-9. doi: 10.1177/0954411915615911. Epub 2015 Nov 18.

Pulse-echo ultrasound transit time spectroscopy: A comparison of experimental measurement and simulation prediction.

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Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, QLD, Australia
Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, QLD, Australia.


Considering ultrasound propagation through complex composite media as an array of parallel sonic rays, a comparison of computer-simulated prediction with experimental data has previously been reported for transmission mode (where one transducer serves as transmitter, the other as receiver) in a series of 10 acrylic step-wedge samples, immersed in water, exhibiting varying degrees of transit time inhomogeneity. In this study, the same samples were used but in pulse-echo mode, where the same ultrasound transducer served as both transmitter and receiver, detecting both 'primary' (internal sample interface) and 'secondary' (external sample interface) echoes. A transit time spectrum was derived, describing the proportion of sonic rays with a particular transit time. A computer simulation was performed to predict the transit time and amplitude of various echoes created, and compared with experimental data. Applying an amplitude-tolerance analysis, 91.7% ± 3.7% of the simulated data were within ±1 standard deviation of the experimentally measured amplitude-time data. Correlation of predicted and experimental transit time spectra provided coefficients of determination (R(2)%) ranging from 100.0% to 96.8% for the various samples tested. The results acquired from this study provide good evidence for the concept of parallel sonic rays. Furthermore, deconvolution of experimental input and output signals has been shown to provide an effective method to identify echoes otherwise lost due to phase cancellation. Potential applications of pulse-echo ultrasound transit time spectroscopy include improvement of ultrasound image fidelity by improving spatial resolution and reducing phase interference artefacts.


Ultrasound pulse-echo; phase interference; transit time spectrum; ultrasound propagation

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