High Frame Rate Volumetric Imaging of Microbubbles Using a Sparse Array and Spatial Coherence Beamforming

Luxi Wei, Geraldi Wahyulaksana, Bram Meijlink, Alessandro Ramalli, Emile Noothout, Martin Verweij, Antonius F.W. Van der Steen, Nico De Jong, Hendrik J. Vos, More Authors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Volumetric ultrasound imaging of blood flow with microbubbles enables more complete visualization of the microvasculature. Sparse arrays are ideal candidates to perform volumetric imaging at reduced manufacturing complexity and cable count. However, due to the small number of transducer elements, sparse arrays often come with high clutter levels, especially when wide beams are transmitted to increase the frame rate. In this study, we demonstrate with a prototype sparse array probe and a diverging wave transmission strategy, that a uniform transmission field can be achieved. With the implementation of a spatial coherence beamformer, background clutter signal can be effectively suppressed, leading to a signal to background ratio improvement of 25 dB. With this approach, we demonstrate the volumetric visualization of single microbubbles in a tissue-mimicking phantom as well as vasculature mapping in a live chicken embryo chorioallantoic membrane.

Keywords

  • Array signal processing
  • Clutter
  • Coherence beamforming
  • high frame rate
  • Imaging
  • microbubbles
  • Signal to noise ratio
  • sparse array
  • Spatial coherence
  • Spirals
  • Ultrasonic imaging
  • volumetric imaging

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