In conventional ultrasound color flow mode imaging, a large number (~500) of pulses have to be emitted in order to form a complete velocity map. This lowers the frame-rate and temporal resolution. A method for color flow imaging in which a few (~10) pulses have to be emitted to form a complete velocity image is presented. The method is based on using a plane wave excitation with temporal encoding to compensate for the decreased SNR, resulting from the lack of focusing. The temporal encoding is done with a linear frequency modulated signal. To decrease lateral sidelobes, a Tukey window is used as apodization on the transmitting aperture. The data are
beamformed along the direction of the flow, and the velocity is found by 1-D cross correlation of these data. First the method is evaluated in simulations using the Field II program. Secondly, the method is evaluated using the experimental scanner RASMUS and a 7 MHz linear array transducer, which scans a circulating flowrig. The velocity of the blood mimicking fluid in the flowrig is constant and parabolic, and the center of the scanned area is situated at a depth of 40 mm. A CFM image of the blood flow in the flowrig is estimated from two pulse emissions. At the axial center line of the CFM image, the velocity is estimated over the vessel with a mean relative standard deviation of 2.64% and a mean relative bias of 6.91%.
At an axial line 5 mm to the right of the center of the CFM image, the velocity is estimated over the vessel with a relative
standard deviation of 0.84% and a relative bias of 5.74%. Finally the method is tested on the common carotid artery of a healthy 33-year-old male.