11 April 2002 Virtual ultrasound sources in high-resolution ultrasound imaging
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This paper investigates the concept of virtual source elements. It suggests a common framework for increasing the resolution, and penetration depth of several imaging modalities by applying synthetic aperture focusing (SAF). SAF is used either as a post focusing procedure on the beamformed data, or directly on the raw signals from the transducer elements. Both approaches increase the resolution. The paper shows that in one imaging situation, there can co-exist different virtual sources for the same scan line - one in the azimuth plane, and another in the elevation. This property is used in a two stage beamforming procedure for 3D ultrasound imaging. The position of the virtual source, and the created waveform are investigated with simulation, and with pulse-echo measurements. There is good agreement between the estimated wavefront and the theoretically fitted one. Several examples of the use of virtual source elements are considered. Using SAF on data acquired for a conventional linear array imaging improves the penetration depth for the particular imaging situation from 80 to 110 mm. The independent use of virtual source elements in the elevation plane decreases the respective size of the point spread function at 100 mm below the transducer from 7mm to 2 mm.
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Svetoslav Nikolov, Svetoslav Nikolov, Joergen Arendt Jensen, Joergen Arendt Jensen, "Virtual ultrasound sources in high-resolution ultrasound imaging", Proc. SPIE 4687, Medical Imaging 2002: Ultrasonic Imaging and Signal Processing, (11 April 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.462178; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.462178

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