25 March 2011 Transmit beamforming techniques for suppressing grating lobes in large pitch ultrasonic phased arrays
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To date, clinical implementation of high-frequency ultrasound has been limited due to the difficulties in fabricating sufficiently small micro-array transducers. Specifically, if an array is desired with the ability to beam-steer to large angles, an inter-element pitch of approximately .5λ is required to avoid grating lobe artifacts. At high-frequencies (30-70MHz), this introduces major fabrication challenges since the required element pitch is between 10 and 25 microns. A new technique called Phase Coherence Imaging has been introduced in the literature for suppressing grating lobes in large-pitch arrays by calculating a weighting factor proportional to the instantaneous phase coherence of the received element echoes. If the reflected echoes in the grating lobe region are relatively broadband, only some of the echoes will overlap and the resulting weighting factor will be less. Unfortunately, most beamforming techniques result in relatively narrowband echoes in the grating lobe region, making this technique less effective. We have developed a technique that splits the N-element transmit aperture into N/K transmit elements and N receive elements in order to better suppress grating lobes by increasing the bandwidth of the grating lobe echoes. We have also developed a technique that uses a probing pulse from a virtual point source behind the array in order to pre-calculate weighting factors from broadband echoes before conventional transmit beamforming is used. Radiation patterns have been simulated and the amount of grating lobe suppression has been quantified using the proposed techniques. It has been shown that these techniques are very effective in suppressing grating lobes in large-pitch phased-arrays, potentially simplifying high-frequency array fabrication.
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Zahra Torbatian, Zahra Torbatian, Rob Adamson, Rob Adamson, Manohar Bance, Manohar Bance, Jeremy A. Brown, Jeremy A. Brown, } "Transmit beamforming techniques for suppressing grating lobes in large pitch ultrasonic phased arrays", Proc. SPIE 7968, Medical Imaging 2011: Ultrasonic Imaging, Tomography, and Therapy, 79680R (25 March 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.877777; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.877777

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