The problem of reconstructing the reflectivity of a biological tissue is examined by means of blind deconvolution of the echo ultrasound signals. It is shown that the quality of the reconstruction procedure can be significantly improved when initially the ultrasonic pulse is accurately estimated. A new approach to the estimation of the ultrasound pulse echo sequences is proposed, using local polynomial approximation, which is closely related to the wavelet transform theory. This approach can be viewed as a modification of homomorphic deconvolution, by using bases different from the Fourier basis of the space of square-integrable functions L2. The bases used here are the orthogonal compactly supported wavelet bases. It is shown that the locality of the estimate can be extremely useful in number of cases of practical interest, resulting in estimates with smaller root-mean squared (rms) errors, as compared with estimates employing the Fourier basis. This approach is applied to ultrasound signals, for estimation of the ultrasound pulse log-spectrum from the log-spectrum of radio-frequency (RF) sequences. It is shown, conceptually and experimentally, that the proposed approach can provide robust and rapidly computed estimates of the ultrasound pulses from the RF-sequences, as obtained in the process of tissue scanning. The pulse phase was recovered using the minimum-phase assumption, which was found to hold for the transducers in use. The obtained pulse estimates are used for the deconvolution of the RF-sequences, which result in stable estimates of the tissue reflectivity function, fairly independent of the properties of the imaging system. Simulated data, data obtained from several phantoms and from in vitro experiments have been processed and the results seem to be quite promising.
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