Dual-/tri-apodization techniques for high frequency ultrasound imaging: A simulation study

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Abstract

Background: In the ultrasound B-mode (Brightness-mode) imaging, high side-lobe level reduces contrast to noise ratio (CNR). A linear apodization scheme by using the window function can suppress the side-lobe level while the main-lobe width is increased resulting in degraded lateral resolution. In order to reduce the side-lobe level without sacrificing the main-lobe width, a non-linear apodization method has been suggested. Methods: In this paper, we computationally evaluated the performance of the non-linear apodization method such as dual-/tri-apodization focusing on the high frequency ultrasound image. The rectangular, Dolph-Chebyshev, and Kaiser window functions were employed to implement dual-/tri-apodization algorithms. The point and cyst target simulations were conducted by using a dedicated ultrasound simulation tool called Field-II. The center frequency of the simulated linear array transducer was 40 MHz and the total number of elements was 128. The performance of dual-/tri-apodization was compared with that of the rectangular window function focusing on the side-lobe level and the main-lobe widths (at -6 dB and -35 dB). Results: In the point target simulation, the main-lobe widths of the dual-/tri-apodization were very similar to that of the rectangular window, and the side-lobe levels of the dual-/ tri-apodization were more suppressed by 9~10 dB. In the cyst target simulation, CNR values of the dual-/tri-apodization were improved by 41% and 51%, respectively. Conclusions: The performance of the non-linear apodization was numerically investigated. In comparison with the rectangular window function, the non-linear apodization method such as dual- and tri-apodization had low side-lobe level without sacrificing the main-lobe width. Thus, it can be a potential way to increase CNR maintaining the main-lobe width in the high frequency ultrasound imaging.

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Sung, J. H., & Jeong, J. S. (2014). Dual-/tri-apodization techniques for high frequency ultrasound imaging: A simulation study. BioMedical Engineering Online, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-925X-13-143

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