Elasticity imaging is a medical imaging modality that measures tissue elasticity as an aid in the diagnosis of certain diseases. Shear wave-based methods have been developed to perform elasticity measurements in soft tissue. These methods often use the radiation force mechanism of focused ultrasound to induce shear waves in soft tissue such as liver, kidney, breast, thyroid and skeletal muscle. The efficiency of the ultrasound beam in producing broadband extended shear waves in soft tissue is very important to the widespread use of this modality. Hybrid beamforming combines two types of focusing, conventional spherical focusing and axicon focusing, to produce a beam for generating a shear wave that has increased depth-of-field (DOF) so that measurements can be made with a shear wave with a consistent wave front. Spherical focusing is used in many applications to achieve high lateral resolution, but has low DOF. Axicon focusing, with a cone-shaped transducer, can provide good lateral resolution with large DOF. We describe our linear aperture design and beam optimization performed using angular spectrum simulations. We performed a large parametric simulation study in which we varied the focal depth for the spherical focusing portion of the aperture, the numbers of elements devoted to the spherical and axicon focusing portions of the aperture and the opening angle used for axicon focusing. The hybrid beamforming method was experimentally tested in two phantoms, and shear wave speed measurement accuracy and DOF for each hybrid beam were evaluated. We compared our results with those for shear waves generated using only spherical focusing. The results of this study indicate that hybrid beamforming is capable of producing a beam with increased DOF over which accurate shear wave speed measurements can be made for different-size apertures and at different focal depths. © 2014 World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology.
Nabavizadeh, A., Greenleaf, J. F., Fatemi, M., & Urban, M. W. (2014). Optimized shear wave generation using hybrid beamforming methods. Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, 40(1), 188–199. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2013.08.016