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Ultrasonic lateral modulation imaging, speckle reduction, and displacement vector measurements using simple single-beam scanning or plural crossed-beam scanning with new spectra frequency division processing methods

Authors Sumi C, Ishii

Received 5 May 2012

Accepted for publication 6 July 2012

Published 2 October 2012 Volume 2012:5 Pages 57—101


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Chikayoshi Sumi, Yousuke Ishii

Department of Information and Communication Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan

Abstract: The development of effective ultrasonic tissue displacement measurement methods increases the number of possible applications for various tissue displacement and strain measurements. These applications include measurements of spontaneous motions/deformations generated by heart motion; pulsations from phenomena such as blood flow (intracardiac, intravascular, and carotid); heart, blood vessel, and liver motion; and motion from artificial sources such as motions/deformations generated by applying static compression/stretching forces, vibration or acoustic radiation forces (breast and liver). For arbitrary orthogonal coordinate systems obtained using arbitrary transducer types (eg, linear, convex, sector, arc, or radial array types, or single aperture types with a mechanical scan), several lateral modulation (LM) methods (eg, scanning with plural crossed or steered beams over a region of interest) have been developed that can be used with new echo imaging methods for tissue displacement/deformation measurements. Specifically, by using such beamforming methods, in addition to highly accurate displacement vector and lateral displacement measurements, LM echo imaging with a high lateral carrier frequency and a high lateral resolution has been developed. Another new beamforming method, referred to as “a steering angle (ASTA) method,” ie, scanning with a defined steering angle, is also described. In addition to conventional non-steered-beam scanning (ie, a version of ASTA) and conventional steered-beam scanning with a variable steering angle (eg, sector, arc, radial scan), a simple, single-beam scanning method also permits the use of LM, which yields an accurate displacement vector measurement with fewer calculations than the original LM methods. This is accomplished by using a previously developed spectra frequency division method (SFDM). However, the lateral carrier frequency and the measurement accuracy acquired by using such a single-beam scanning method are lower than those achieved with the original LM scanning methods and should be increased (ie, by using a quasi-LM method). In this report, the effectiveness of the use of the new SFDMs is verified with experiments on agar phantoms, in which conventional non-steered, focused single-beam transmission/reception scanning is performed together with high-speed non-steered single plane-wave transmission and non-steered, focused single-beam reception scanning using a linear array-type transducer. For comparison, the original LMs, with their respective transmissions of crossed, steered focused beams and plane waves are also performed. Because the use of rectangular apodization functions (ie, no apodization) yields a larger bandwidth in a lateral direction than the effective use of parabolic functions with the original LM method, it is shown that disregarding the lateral low-frequency spectra yields useful quasi-LM echo imaging with a high lateral frequency, and further significantly increases the measurement accuracy of a displacement vector. In addition, when no apodization is used with the original version of LM, disregarding the low-frequency lateral spectra is effective. In addition, the interchangeability of cosine and sine modulations performed after completing beamforming can also be used for single-beam scanning as well as for the original LM scanning method. Specifically, the cosine and sine modulations, respectively, are used for LM and quasi-LM imaging and displacement vector measurements. It is concluded that the appropriate use of the new SFDMs with simple single-beam scanning or with simple plural crossed-beam scanning with no apodization can achieve almost the same accuracy as the original LM scanning method using plural crossed beams with the effective apodization. Another new application of SFDM is also described: an incoherent superposition of the frequency-divided spectra reduces speckles. The new methods will also be effective for other beamforming methods and with other types of transducers.

Keywords: lateral modulation scanning, single-beam scanning, apodization, spectra frequency division method, low-frequency spectra, quasi-LM imaging, coherent superposition, incoherent superposition

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