Kortbek, Jacob1; Jensen, Jørgen Arendt1; Gammelmark, Kim Løkke4
1 Department of Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark2 Biomedical Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark3 Center for Fast Ultrasound Imaging, Center, Technical University of Denmark4 BK Medical Aps
Synthetic aperture sequential beamforming (SASB) is a novel technique which allows to implement synthetic aperture beamforming on a system with a restricted complexity, and without storing RF-data. The objective is to improve lateral resolution and obtain a more depth independent resolution compared to conventional ultrasound imaging. SASB is a two-stage procedure using two separate beamformers. The initial step is to construct and store a set of B-mode image lines using a single focal point in both transmit and receive. The focal points are considered virtual sources and virtual receivers making up a virtual array. The second stage applies the focused image lines from the first stage as input data, and take advantage of the virtual array in the delay and sum beamforming. The size of the virtual array is dynamically expanded and the image is dynamically focused in both transmit and receive and a range independent lateral resolution is obtained. The SASB method has been investigated using simulations in Field II and by off-line processing of data acquired with a commercial scanner. The lateral resolution increases with a decreasing F#. Grating lobes appear if F# 6 2 for a linear array with k-pitch. The performance of SASB with the virtual source at 20 mm and F# = 1.5 is compared with conventional dynamic receive focusing (DRF). The axial resolution is the same for the two methods. For the lateral resolution there is improvement in FWHM of at least a factor of 2 and the improvement at 40 dB is at least a factor of 3. With SASB the resolution is almost constant throughout the range. For DRF the FWHM increases almost linearly with range and the resolution at 40 dB is fluctuating with range. The theoretical potential improvement in SNR of SASB over DRF has been estimated. An improvement is attained at the entire range, and at a depth of 80 mm the improvement is 8 dB.