This paper presents a new design of a discrete time Delta-Sigma (ΔΣ) oversampled ultrasound beamformer which integrates individual channel apodization by means of variable feedback voltage in the Delta-Sigma analog to digital (A/D) converters. The output bit-width of each oversampled A/D converter remains the same as in an unmodified one. The outputs of all receiving channels are delayed and summed, and the resulting multi-bit sample stream is filtered and decimated to become an image line. The simplicity of this beamformer allows the production of high-channel-count or very compact beamformers suitable for 2-D arrays or compact portable scanners. The new design is evaluated using measured data from the research scanner SARUS and a BK-8811 192 element linear array transducer (BK Medical, Herlev, Denmark), insonifying a water-filled wire phantom containing four wires orthogonal to the image plane. The data are acquired using 12-bit flash A/D converters at a sampling rate of 70 MHz, and are then upsampled off-line to 560 MHz for input to the simulated ΔΣ beamformer. The latter generates a B-mode image which is compared to that produced by a digital beamformer that uses 10-bit A/D converters. The performance is evaluated by comparing the width of the wire images at half amplitude and the noise level of the images. The ΔΣ beamformer resolution has been found to be identical to that of the multi-bit A/D beamforming architecture, while the noise floor is elevated by approximately 6 dB.
Proceedings of Spie: Medical Imaging 2013: Ultrasonic Imaging, Tomography, and Therapy, 2013