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1 April 2016 Analog gradient beamformer for a wireless ultrasound scanner
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This paper presents a novel beamformer architecture for a low-cost receiver front-end, and investigates if the image quality can be maintained. The system is oriented to the development of a hand-held wireless ultrasound probe based on Synthetic Aperture Sequential Beamforming, and has the advantage of effectively reducing circuit complexity and power dissipation. The array of transducers is divided into sub-apertures, in which the signals from the single channels are aligned through a network of cascaded gradient delays, and summed in the analog domain before A/D conversion. The delay values are quantized to simplify the shifting unit, and a single A/D converter is needed for each sub-aperture yielding a compact, low-power architecture that can be integrated in a single chip. A simulation study was performed using a 3:75MHz convex array, and the point spread function (PSF) for different configurations was evaluated in terms of lateral full-width-at-half-maximum (FWHM) and −20 dB cystic resolution (CR). Several setups were simulated varying the sub-aperture size N and the quantization step, and design constraints were obtained comparing the PSF to that of an ideal non-quantized system. The PSF is shown for N = 32 with a quantization step of 12 ns. For this configuration, the FWHM is degraded by 0.25% and the CR is 8.70% lower compared to the ideal situation. The results demonstrate that the gradient beamformer provides an adequate image quality, and open the way to a fully-integrated chip for a compact, low-cost, wireless ultrasound probe.
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Tommaso Di Ianni, Martin Christian Hemmsen Sr., Jan Bagge, Henrik Jensen, Nitsan Vardi, and Jørgen Arendt Jensen "Analog gradient beamformer for a wireless ultrasound scanner", Proc. SPIE 9790, Medical Imaging 2016: Ultrasonic Imaging and Tomography, 979010 (1 April 2016);

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