We synthesized large coherent 2-D apertures and used them to image a point target through excised samples of canine chest wall. Blocked elements are detected based on low amplitude of their signals. As a part of compensation, blocked elements are turned off on transmit (Tx) and receive (Rx), and point-target images are created using: coherent summation of the remaining channels, compounding of intercostal apertures, and adaptive weighting of the available Tx/Rx channel-pairs to recover the desired k-space response. The adaptive compensation method also includes a phase aberration correction to ensure that the non-blocked Tx/Rx channel pairs are summed coherently.
To evaluate the methods, we compare the point-spread functions (PSFs) and near-field clutter levels for the transcostal and control acquisitions. Specifically, applying k-space compensation to the sparse aperture data created from the control acquisition reduces sidelobes from -6.6 dB to -12 dB. When applied to the transcostal data in combination with phase-aberration correction, the same method reduces sidelobes only by 3 dB, likely due to significant tissue induced acoustic noise. For the transcostal acquisition, turning off blocked elements and applying uniform weighting results in maximum clutter reduction of 5 dB on average, while the PSF stays intact. Compounding reduces clutter by about 3 dB while the k-space compensation increases clutter magnitude to the non-compensated levels.