# Showing papers in "IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control in 2016"

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TL;DR: Qualitative ultrasound (QUS) imaging can provide specific numbers related to tissue features that can increase the specificity of image findings leading to improvements in diagnostic ultrasound, and successful clinical and preclinical applications demonstrating the ability of QUS to improve medical diagnostics are demonstrated.

Abstract: Conventional medical imaging technologies, including ultrasound, have continued to improve over the years. For example, in oncology, medical imaging is characterized by high sensitivity, i.e., the ability to detect anomalous tissue features, but the ability to classify these tissue features from images often lacks specificity. As a result, a large number of biopsies of tissues with suspicious image findings are performed each year with a vast majority of these biopsies resulting in a negative finding. To improve specificity of cancer imaging, quantitative imaging techniques can play an important role. Conventional ultrasound B-mode imaging is mainly qualitative in nature. However, quantitative ultrasound (QUS) imaging can provide specific numbers related to tissue features that can increase the specificity of image findings leading to improvements in diagnostic ultrasound. QUS imaging can encompass a wide variety of techniques including spectral-based parameterization, elastography, shear wave imaging, flow estimation, and envelope statistics. Currently, spectral-based parameterization and envelope statistics are not available on most conventional clinical ultrasound machines. However, in recent years, QUS techniques involving spectral-based parameterization and envelope statistics have demonstrated success in many applications, providing additional diagnostic capabilities. Spectral-based techniques include the estimation of the backscatter coefficient (BSC), estimation of attenuation, and estimation of scatterer properties such as the correlation length associated with an effective scatterer diameter (ESD) and the effective acoustic concentration (EAC) of scatterers. Envelope statistics include the estimation of the number density of scatterers and quantification of coherent to incoherent signals produced from the tissue. Challenges for clinical application include correctly accounting for attenuation effects and transmission losses and implementation of QUS on clinical devices. Successful clinical and preclinical applications demonstrating the ability of QUS to improve medical diagnostics include characterization of the myocardium during the cardiac cycle, cancer detection, classification of solid tumors and lymph nodes, detection and quantification of fatty liver disease, and monitoring and assessment of therapy.

249 citations

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TL;DR: A modified Markov chain Monte Carlo data association algorithm is implemented, which can handle a high number of MBs and has applicability for in vivo measurements, and a tumor xenograft-bearing mouse was imaged by this approach.

Abstract: The imaging of microvessels and the quantification of their blood flow is of particular interest in the characterization of tumor vasculature. The imaging resolution (50–200 $\upmu {\bf m}$ ) of high-frequency ultrasound (US) (20–50 MHz) is not sufficient to image microvessels (~10 $\upmu {\bf m}$ ) and Doppler sensitivity is not high enough to measure capillary blood flow (~1 mm/s). For imaging of blood flow in microvessels, our approach is to detect single microbubbles (MBs), track them over several frames, and to estimate their velocity. First, positions of MBs will be detected by separating B-mode frames in a moving foreground and a static background. For the crucial task of association of these positions to tracks, we implemented a modified Markov chain Monte Carlo data association (MCMCDA) algorithm, which can handle a high number of MBs. False alarms, the detection, initiation, and termination of MBs tracks are incorporated in the underlying model. To test the performance of algorithms, a US imaging simulation of a vessel tree with flowing MBs was set up (resolution 148 $\upmu {\bf m}$ ). The trajectories and flow velocity in the vessels with a lateral distance of 100 $\upmu {\bf m}$ were reconstructed with super-resolution. In a phantom experiment, a suspension of MBs was pumped through a tube (diameter 0.4 mm) at speeds of 2.2, 4.2, 6.3, and 10.5 mm/s and was imaged with a Vevo2100 system (Visualsonics). Estimated mean speeds of the MBs were 2.1, 4.7, 7, and 10.5 mm/s. To demonstrate the applicability for in vivo measurements, a tumor xenograft-bearing mouse was imaged by this approach. The tumor vasculature was visualized with higher resolution than in a maximum intensity persistence image and the velocity values were in the expected range 0–1 mm/s.

139 citations

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TL;DR: The design criteria and hardware/software implementation details of a new 256-channel ultrasound advanced open platform, organized in a modular architecture, capable of finely controlling all transmit (TX) and receive (RX) signals is reported.

Abstract: Open scanners offer an increasing support to the ultrasound researchers who are involved in the experimental test of novel methods. Each system presents specific performance in terms of number of channels, flexibility, processing power, data storage capability, and overall dimensions. This paper reports the design criteria and hardware/software implementation details of a new 256-channel ultrasound advanced open platform. This system is organized in a modular architecture, including multiple front-end boards, interconnected by a high-speed (80 Gb/s) ring, capable of finely controlling all transmit (TX) and receive (RX) signals. High flexibility and processing power (equivalent to 2500 GFLOP) are guaranteed by the possibility of individually programming multiple digital signal processors and field programmable gate arrays. Eighty GB of on-board memory are available for the storage of prebeamforming, postbeamforming, and baseband data. The use of latest generation devices allowed to integrate all needed electronics in a small size ( $34~\textrm {cm} \times 30~\textrm {cm} \times 26$ cm). The system implements a multiline beamformer that allows obtaining images of 96 lines by 2048 depths at a frame rate of 720 Hz (expandable to 3000 Hz). The multiline beamforming capability is also exploited to implement a real-time vector Doppler scheme in which a single TX and two independent RX apertures are simultaneously used to maintain the analysis over a full pulse repetition frequency range.

128 citations

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TL;DR: The underlying acquisition and estimation methods for fast 2-D and 3-D velocity imaging for flow imaging are explained and a number of examples are given.

Abstract: This paper gives a review of the current state-of-the-art in ultrasound parallel acquisition systems for flow imaging using spherical and plane waves emissions. The imaging methods are explained along with the advantages of using these very fast and sensitive velocity estimators. These experimental systems are capable of acquiring thousands of images per second for fast moving flow as well as yielding the estimates of low velocity flow. These emerging techniques allow the vector flow systems to assess highly complex flow with transitory vortices and moving tissue, and they can also be used in functional ultrasound imaging for studying brain function in animals. This paper explains the underlying acquisition and estimation methods for fast 2-D and 3-D velocity imaging and gives a number of examples. Future challenges and the potentials of parallel acquisition systems for flow imaging are also discussed.

121 citations

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TL;DR: The application of White Rabbit precision time protocol in long-distance optical fiber links has been investigated and two implementations of WR-PTP in the existing communication fiber networks are discussed.

Abstract: The application of White Rabbit precision time protocol (WR-PTP) in long-distance optical fiber links has been investigated. WR-PTP is an implementation of PTP in synchronous Ethernet optical fiber networks, originally intended for synchronization of equipment within a range of 10 km. This paper discusses the results and limitations of two implementations of WR-PTP in the existing communication fiber networks. A 950-km WR-PTP link was realized using unidirectional paths in a fiber pair between Espoo and Kajaani, Finland. The time transfer on this link was compared (after initial calibration) against a clock comparison by GPS precise point positioning (PPP). The agreement between the two methods remained within ${\pm }{2}\; \text{ns}$ over three months of measurements. Another WR-PTP implementation was realized between Delft and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, by cascading two links of 137 km each. In this case, the WR links were realized as bidirectional paths in single fibers. The measured time offset between the starting and end points of the link was within 5 ns with an uncertainty of 8 ns, mainly due to the estimated delay asymmetry caused by chromatic dispersion.

106 citations

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TL;DR: The results suggest that the FWI method is capable to reconstruct the thickness map of a irregularly shaped defect accurately on a 10-mm-thick plate with the thickness error within 0.5 mm.

Abstract: In this paper, a guided wave tomography method based on full waveform inversion (FWI) is developed for accurate and high-resolution reconstruction of the remaining wall thickness in isotropic plates. The forward model is computed in the frequency domain by solving a full-wave equation in a two-dimensional (2-D) acoustic model, accounting for higher order effects such as diffractions and multiple scattering. Both numerical simulations and experiments were carried out to obtain the signals of a dispersive guided mode propagating through defects. The inversion was based on local optimization of a waveform misfit function between modeled and measured data, and was applied iteratively to discrete frequency components from low to high frequencies. The resulting wave velocity maps were then converted to thickness maps by the dispersion characteristics of selected guided modes. The results suggest that the FWI method is capable to reconstruct the thickness map of a irregularly shaped defect accurately on a 10-mm-thick plate with the thickness error within 0.5 mm.

100 citations

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TL;DR: This paper gives a review of the most important methods for blood velocity vector flow imaging (VFI) for conventional sequential data acquisition, including multibeam methods, speckle tracking, transverse oscillation, color flow mapping derived VFI, directional beamforming, and variants of these.

Abstract: This paper gives a review of the most important methods for blood velocity vector flow imaging (VFI) for conventional sequential data acquisition. This includes multibeam methods, speckle tracking, transverse oscillation, color flow mapping derived VFI, directional beamforming, and variants of these. The review covers both 2-D and 3-D velocity estimation and gives a historical perspective on the development along with a summary of various vector flow visualization algorithms. The current state of the art is explained along with an overview of clinical studies conducted and methods for presenting and using VFI. A number of examples of VFI images are presented, and the current limitations and potential solutions are discussed.

98 citations

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TL;DR: The use of the Allan deviation plot is reported on to analyze the long-term stability of a quartz-enhanced photoacoustic (QEPAS) gas sensor and the prediction of its ultimate detection limit.

Abstract: We report here on the use of the Allan deviation plot to analyze the long-term stability of a quartz-enhanced photoacoustic (QEPAS) gas sensor. The Allan plot provides information about the optimum averaging time for the QEPAS signal and allows the prediction of its ultimate detection limit. The Allan deviation can also be used to determine the main sources of noise coming from the individual components of the sensor. Quartz tuning fork thermal noise dominates for integration times up to 275 s, whereas at longer averaging times, the main contribution to the sensor noise originates from laser power instabilities.

76 citations

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General Electric

^{1}TL;DR: 4-D ICE should significantly reduce X-ray fluoroscopy use and dose during electrophysiology ablation procedures and may be able to replace transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), and the associated risks and costs of general anesthesia, for guidance of some structural heart procedures.

Abstract: We developed a $2.5 \times 6.6$ mm $^{{\mathrm {2}}}~2$ -D array transducer with integrated transmit/receive application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) for real-time 3-D intracardiac echocardiography (4-D ICE) applications. The ASIC and transducer design were optimized so that the high-voltage transmit, low-voltage time-gain control and preamp, subaperture beamformer, and digital control circuits for each transducer element all fit within the 0.019-mm $^{{\mathrm {2}}}$ area of the element. The transducer assembly was deployed in a 10-Fr (3.3-mm diameter) catheter, integrated with a GE Vivid E9 ultrasound imaging system, and evaluated in three preclinical studies. The 2-D image quality and imaging modes were comparable to commercial 2-D ICE catheters. The 4-D field of view was at least $90 {^{\circ }} \times 60 {^{\circ }} \times 8$ cm and could be imaged at 30 vol/s, sufficient to visualize cardiac anatomy and other diagnostic and therapy catheters. 4-D ICE should significantly reduce X-ray fluoroscopy use and dose during electrophysiology ablation procedures. 4-D ICE may be able to replace transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), and the associated risks and costs of general anesthesia, for guidance of some structural heart procedures.

75 citations

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TL;DR: Flow vectors derived from multi-angle Doppler vector estimators were found to be effective in rendering the expected flow paths in both rotating disk and straight-tube imaging scenarios, while the ones derived from the dual-angle estimator yielded flow paths that deviated from the expected course.

Abstract: Designing robust Doppler vector estimation strategies for use in plane-wave imaging schemes based on unfocused transmissions is a topic that has yet to be studied in depth. One potential solution is to use a multi-angle Doppler estimation approach that computes flow vectors via least-squares fitting, but its performance has not been established. Here, we investigated the efficacy of multi-angle Doppler vector estimators by: 1) comparing its performance with respect to the classical dual-angle (cross-beam) Doppler vector estimator and 2) examining the working effects of multi-angle Doppler vector estimators on flow visualization quality in the context of dynamic flow path rendering. Implementing Doppler vector estimators that use different combinations of transmit (Tx) and receive (Rx) steering angles, our analysis has compared the classical dual-angle Doppler method, a 5-Tx version of dual-angle Doppler, and various multi-angle Doppler configurations based on 3 Tx and 5 Tx. Two angle spans (10°, 20°) were examined in forming the steering angles. In imaging scenarios with known flow profiles (rotating disk and straight-tube parabolic flow), the 3-Tx, 3-Rx and 5-Tx, 5-Rx multi-angle configurations produced vector estimates with smaller variability compared with the dual-angle method, and the estimation results were more consistent with the use of a 20° angle span. Flow vectors derived from multi-angle Doppler estimators were also found to be effective in rendering the expected flow paths in both rotating disk and straight-tube imaging scenarios, while the ones derived from the dual-angle estimator yielded flow paths that deviated from the expected course. These results serve to attest that using multi-angle least-squares Doppler vector estimators, flow visualization can be consistently achieved.

71 citations

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TL;DR: Three energy functions inspired by the pressure field radiated by a Blackman-tapered spiral array are introduced and it is shown that performance close to or even better than the one provided by a spiral array, here assumed as reference, may be obtained.

Abstract: Full matrix arrays are excellent tools for 3-D ultrasound imaging, but the required number of active elements is too high to be individually controlled by an equal number of scanner channels. The number of active elements is significantly reduced by the sparse array techniques, but the position of the remaining elements must be carefully optimized. This issue is faced here by introducing novel energy functions in the simulated annealing (SA) algorithm. At each iteration step of the optimization process, one element is freely translated and the associated radiated pattern is simulated. To control the pressure field behavior at multiple depths, three energy functions inspired by the pressure field radiated by a Blackman-tapered spiral array are introduced. Such energy functions aim at limiting the main lobe width while lowering the side lobe and grating lobe levels at multiple depths. Numerical optimization results illustrate the influence of the number of iterations, pressure measurement points, and depths, as well as the influence of the energy function definition on the optimized layout. It is also shown that performance close to or even better than the one provided by a spiral array, here assumed as reference, may be obtained. The finite-time convergence properties of SA allow the duration of the optimization process to be set in advance.

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TL;DR: Both the measured characteristics of the individual transducer elements and the performance of the ASIC are in good agreement with expectations, demonstrating the effectiveness of the proposed techniques.

Abstract: This paper presents the design, fabrication, and experimental evaluation of a prototype lead zirconium titanate (PZT) matrix transducer with an integrated receive ASIC, as a proof of concept for a miniature three-dimensional (3-D) transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) probe. It consists of an array of $9 \times 12$ piezoelectric elements mounted on the ASIC via an integration scheme that involves direct electrical connections between a bond-pad array on the ASIC and the transducer elements. The ASIC addresses the critical challenge of reducing cable count, and includes front-end amplifiers with adjustable gains and micro-beamformer circuits that locally process and combine echo signals received by the elements of each $3 \times 3$ subarray. Thus, an order-of-magnitude reduction in the number of receive channels is achieved. Dedicated circuit techniques are employed to meet the strict space and power constraints of TEE probes. The ASIC has been fabricated in a standard $0.18\text{-}\upmu\text{m}$ CMOS process and consumes only 0.44 mW/channel. The prototype has been acoustically characterized in a water tank. The ASIC allows the array to be presteered across $\pm 37^{\circ}$ while achieving an overall dynamic range of 77 dB. Both the measured characteristics of the individual transducer elements and the performance of the ASIC are in good agreement with expectations, demonstrating the effectiveness of the proposed techniques.

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TL;DR: An overview of the electronically stabilized fiber-optic time and frequency distribution system based on the idea of using variable electronic delay lines as compensating elements, and practical implementation of the ELSTAB in the Polish T&F distribution network is shown.

Abstract: In this paper, we present an overview of the electronically stabilized (thus named ELSTAB) fiber-optic time and frequency (T&F) distribution system based on our idea of using variable electronic delay lines as compensating elements. Various extensions of the basic system, allowing building a long-haul, multiuser network are described. The fundamental limitations of the method arising from fiber chromatic dispersion and system dynamics are discussed. We briefly characterize the main hardware challenge of the system, which is the design of a pair of low-noise, precisely matched delay lines. Finally, we present experimental results with T&F distribution over up to 615 km of fiber, where we demonstrate frequency stability in the range of $1-7 \times 10^{-17}$ for $10^{5}$ s averaging and time calibration with accuracy well below 50 ps. Also, practical implementation of the ELSTAB in the Polish T&F distribution network is shown.

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TL;DR: The quality of transthoracic images of the heart was found to be improved with the number of pulse-inverted diverging waves with a reduction of the imaging mean clutter level up to 13.8 dB when compared against UCC at the fundamental frequency, which demonstrated that UHCC B-mode imaging is promising for imaging deep tissues exposed to aberration sources with a high FR.

Abstract: Transthoracic shear-wave elastography (SWE) of the myocardium remains very challenging due to the poor quality of transthoracic ultrafast imaging and the presence of clutter noise, jitter, phase aberration, and ultrasound reverberation. Several approaches, such as diverging-wave coherent compounding or focused harmonic imaging, have been proposed to improve the imaging quality. In this study, we introduce ultrafast harmonic coherent compounding (UHCC), in which pulse-inverted diverging waves are emitted and coherently compounded, and show that such an approach can be used to enhance both SWE and high frame rate (FR) B-mode Imaging. UHCC SWE was first tested in phantoms containing an aberrating layer and was compared against pulse-inversion harmonic imaging and against ultrafast coherent compounding (UCC) imaging at the fundamental frequency. In vivo feasibility of the technique was then evaluated in six healthy volunteers by measuring myocardial stiffness during diastole in transthoracic imaging. We also demonstrated that improvements in imaging quality could be achieved using UHCC B-mode imaging in healthy volunteers. The quality of transthoracic images of the heart was found to be improved with the number of pulse-inverted diverging waves with a reduction of the imaging mean clutter level up to 13.8 dB when compared against UCC at the fundamental frequency. These results demonstrated that UHCC B-mode imaging is promising for imaging deep tissues exposed to aberration sources with a high FR.

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TL;DR: The reliability of the proposed method highlights its potential for viscoelastic tissue characterization, which may improve noninvasive diagnosis, and the model-independent quantification of frequency-dependent viscoELastic complex shear modulus of macroscopically homogeneous tissues.

Abstract: Ultrasound shear wave elastography methods are commonly used for estimation of mechanical properties of soft biological tissues in diagnostic medicine. A limitation of most currently used elastography methods is that they yield only the shear storage modulus ( $G^{\prime }$ ) but not the loss modulus ( $G^{\prime \prime }$ ). Therefore, no information on viscosity or loss tangent (tan $\delta )$ is provided. In this paper, an ultrasound shear wave viscoelastography method is developed for model-independent quantification of frequency-dependent viscoelastic complex shear modulus of macroscopically homogeneous tissues. Three in vitro tissue-mimicking phantoms and two ex vivo porcine liver samples were evaluated. Shear waves were remotely induced within the samples using several acoustic radiation force pushes to generate a semicylindrical wave field similar to those generated by most clinically used elastography systems. The complex shear modulus was estimated over a broad frequency range (up to 1000 Hz) through the analytical solution of the developed inverse wave propagation problem using the measured shear wave speed and amplitude decay versus propagation distance. The shear storage and loss moduli obtained for the in vitro phantoms were compared with those from a planar shear wave method and the average differences over the whole frequency range studied were smaller than 7% and 15%, respectively. The reliability of the proposed method highlights its potential for viscoelastic tissue characterization, which may improve noninvasive diagnosis.

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TL;DR: A sparse SVD (S-SVD) method, which combines the signal-to-noise ratio improvement of the SVD-based approach with the high wavenumber resolution advantage of the sparse optimization, is presented to overcome the above-mentioned limitation.

Abstract: The 2-D Fourier transform analysis of multichannel signals is a straightforward method to extract the dispersion curves of guided modes. Basically, the time signals recorded at several positions along the waveguide are converted to the wavenumber–frequency space, so that the dispersion curves (i.e., the frequency-dependent wavenumbers) of the guided modes can be extracted by detecting peaks of energy trajectories. In order to improve the dispersion curve extraction of low-amplitude modes propagating in a cortical bone, a multiemitter and multireceiver transducer array has been developed together with an effective singular vector decomposition (SVD)-based signal processing method. However, in practice, the limited number of positions where these signals are recorded results in a much lower resolution in the wavenumber axis than in the frequency axis. This prevents a clear identification of overlapping dispersion curves. In this paper, a sparse SVD (S-SVD) method, which combines the signal-to-noise ratio improvement of the SVD-based approach with the high wavenumber resolution advantage of the sparse optimization, is presented to overcome the above-mentioned limitation. Different penalty constraints, i.e., $l_{1}$ -norm, Frobenius norm, and revised Cauchy norm, are compared with the sparse characteristics. The regularization parameters are investigated with respect to the convergence property and wavenumber resolution. The proposed S-SVD method is investigated using synthetic wideband signals and experimental data obtained from a bone-mimicking phantom and from an ex-vivo human radius. The analysis of the results suggests that the S-SVD method has the potential to significantly enhance the wavenumber resolution and to improve the extraction of the dispersion curves.

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TL;DR: In vivo scans of the carotid artery of a healthy volunteer show improved contrast and present fewer artifacts, when using the λ /2-pitch transducer compared with the κ -pitch, according to the method applied to a specific problem.

Abstract: This paper presents a method for optimizing parameters affecting the image quality in plane wave imaging. More specifically, the number of emissions and steering angles is optimized to attain the best images with the highest frame rate possible. The method is applied to a specific problem, where image quality for a $\lambda $ -pitch transducer is compared with a $\lambda $ /2-pitch transducer. Grating lobe artifacts for $\lambda $ -pitch transducers degrade the contrast in plane wave images, and the impact on frame rate is studied. Field II simulations of plane wave images are made for all combinations of the parameters, and the optimal setup is selected based on Pareto optimality. The optimal setup for a simulated 4.1-MHz $\lambda $ -pitch transducer uses 61 emissions and a maximum steering angle of 20° for depths from 0 to 60 mm. The achieved lateral full-width at half-maximum (FWHM) is $1.5\lambda $ and the contrast is −29 dB for a scatterer at 9 mm ( $24\lambda $ ). Using a $\lambda $ /2-pitch transducer and only 21 emissions within the same angle range, the image quality is improved in terms of contrast, which is −37 dB. For imaging in regions deeper than 25 mm ( $66\lambda $ ), only 21 emissions are optimal for both the transducers, resulting in a −36 dB contrast at 34 mm ( $90\lambda $ ). Measurements are performed using the experimental SARUS scanner connected to a $\lambda $ -pitch and $\lambda $ /2-pitch transducer. A wire phantom and a tissue mimicking phantom containing anechoic cysts are scanned and show the performance using the optimized sequences for the transducers. FWHM is $1.6\lambda $ and contrast is −25 dB for a wire at 9 mm using the $\lambda $ -pitch transducer. For the $\lambda $ /2-pitch transducer, contrast is −29 dB. In vivo scans of the carotid artery of a healthy volunteer show improved contrast and present fewer artifacts, when using the $\lambda $ /2-pitch transducer compared with the $\lambda $ -pitch. It is demonstrated with a frame rate, which is three times higher for the $\lambda $ /2-pitch transducer.

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TL;DR: This paper investigates the possibility of exciting a single-mode Lamb wave with low dispersion at a frequency thickness of around 20 MHz-mm and shows by finite element (FE) analysis backed up by experiments that a signal dominated by the A1 mode can be generated, even in a region where many modes have similar phase velocities.

Abstract: Guided wave inspection is used extensively in petrochemical plants to check for defects such as corrosion. Long-range low-frequency inspection can be used to detect relatively large defects, while higher frequency inspection provides improved sensitivity to small defects, but the presence of multiple dispersive modes makes it difficult to implement. This paper investigates the possibility of exciting a single-mode Lamb wave with low dispersion at a frequency thickness of around 20 MHz-mm. It is shown by finite element (FE) analysis backed up by experiments that a signal dominated by the A1 mode can be generated, even in a region where many modes have similar phase velocities. The A1 mode has relatively little motion at the plate surface which means that only a small reflection is generated at features such as T-joints; this is verified numerically. It is also expected that it will be relatively unaffected by surface roughness or attenuative coatings. These features are very similar to those of the higher order mode cluster (HOMC) reported by other authors, and it is shown that the A1 mode shape is very similar to the deflected shape reported in HOMC.

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TL;DR: In this paper, the design of a Lorentz force shear wave EMAT and its application in thickness gaging was studied, where a configuration that consists of several magnets axisymmetrically arranged around a ferromagnetic core with like poles facing the core was found to give the best results.

Abstract: The main advantage of electromagnetic acoustic transducers (EMATs) over piezoelectric transducers is that no direct contact with the specimen under test is required. Therefore, EMATs can be used to test through coating layers. However, they produce weaker signals, and hence, their design has to be optimized. This paper focuses on the design of a Lorentz force shear wave EMAT and its application in thickness gaging; special emphasis is placed on the optimization of the design elements that correspond to the bias magnetic field of the EMAT. A configuration that consists of several magnets axisymmetrically arranged around a ferromagnetic core with like poles facing the core was found to give the best results. By using this configuration, magnetic flux densities in excess of 3 T were obtained in the surface of a specimen; the maximum value achieved by a single magnet under similar conditions is roughly 1.2 T. If the diameter of an EMAT ultrasonic aperture is 10 mm, the proposed configuration produces signals roughly 20 dB greater than a single magnet, while for a given overall EMAT volume, signals were greater than 3–6 dB. Linear and radial shear wave polarizations were also compared; a higher mode purity and signal intensity were obtained with the linear polarization.

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TL;DR: Nine different types of high-temperature piezoelectric crystals and their sensor applications are overviewed and of particular interest are langasite and oxyborate crystals, which exhibit no phase transitions prior to their melting points and possess high electrical resistivity, piezOElectric coefficients, and mechanical quality factor at ultrahigh temperature.

Abstract: In this review paper, nine different types of high-temperature piezoelectric crystals and their sensor applications are overviewed. The important materials’ properties of these piezoelectric crystals including dielectric constant, elastic coefficients, piezoelectric coefficients, electromechanical coupling coefficients, and mechanical quality factor are discussed in detail. The determination methods of these physical properties are also presented. Moreover, the growth methods, structures, and properties of these piezoelectric crystals are summarized and compared. Of particular interest are langasite and oxyborate crystals, which exhibit no phase transitions prior to their melting points ${\sim}1500\,^\circ{\rm C}$ and possess high electrical resistivity, piezoelectric coefficients, and mechanical quality factor at ultrahigh temperature ( ${\sim}1000\,^\circ{\rm C}$ ). Finally, some research results on surface acoustic wave (SAW) and bulk acoustic wave (BAW) sensors developed using this high-temperature piezoelectric crystals are discussed.

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TL;DR: An affixed polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) multielement sensor is shown to provide mode content information and mode receivability capabilities for structural health monitoring (SHM) of Lamb waves.

Abstract: The characteristics of Lamb waves, which are multimodal and dispersive, provide both challenges and opportunities for structural health monitoring (SHM). Methods for nondestructive testing with Lamb waves are well established. For example, mode content can be determined by moving a sensor to different positions and then transforming the spatial-temporal data into the wavenumber-frequency domain. This mode content information is very useful because at every frequency each mode has a unique wavestructure, which is largely responsible for its sensitivity to material damage. Furthermore, mode conversion occurs when the waves interact with damage, making mode content an excellent damage detection feature. However, in SHM, the transducers are typically at fixed locations and are immovable. Here, an affixed polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) multielement sensor is shown to provide these same capabilities. The PVDF sensor is bonded directly to the waveguide surface, conforms to curved surfaces, has low mass, low profile, low cost, and minimal influence on passing Lamb waves. While the mode receivability is dictated by the sensor being located on the surface of the waveguide, both symmetric and antisymmetric modes can be detected and group velocities measured.

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TL;DR: This pilot study demonstrates the potential of bidirectional AT for the in vivo assessment of cortical thickness, a bone strength-related factor, by measuring multimode guided waves in vivo and infer from it cortical thickness.

Abstract: Cortical bone loss is not fully assessed by the current X-ray methods, and there is an unmet need in identifying women at risk of osteoporotic fracture, who should receive a treatment. The last decade has seen the emergence of the ultrasound (US) axial transmission (AT) techniques to assess a cortical bone. Recent AT techniques exploit the multimode waveguide response of the long bones such as the radius. A recent ex vivo study by our group evidenced that a multimode AT approach can yield simultaneous estimates of cortical thickness (Ct.Th) and stiffness. The aim of this paper is to move one step forward to evaluate the feasibility of measuring multimode guided waves (GW) in vivo and to infer from it cortical thickness. Measurements were taken on the forearm of 14 healthy subjects with the goal to test the accuracy of the estimated thickness using the bidirectional AT method implemented on a dedicated 1-MHz linear US array. This setup allows determining in vivo the dispersion curves of GW transmitted in the cortical layer of the radius. An inverse procedure based on the comparison between the measured and modeled dispersion curves predicted by a 2-D transverse isotropic free plate waveguide model allowed an estimation of cortical thickness, despite the presence of soft tissue. The Ct.Th values were validated by comparison with the site-matched estimates derived from X-ray high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography. Results showed a significant correlation between both measurements ( $r^{2} = 0.7$ , $p , and $\text {RMSE} = 0.21$ mm). This pilot study demonstrates the potential of bidirectional AT for the in vivo assessment of cortical thickness, a bone strength-related factor.

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TL;DR: It is concluded that accurate 3-D vector flow estimation can be obtained using a 2-D RC-addressed array and the optimal parameter configuration is implemented on the prototype RC probe connected to the experimental ultrasound scanner SARUS.

Abstract: Simulation and experimental results from 3-D vector flow estimations for a 62 + 62 2-D row–column (RC) array with integrated apodization are presented. A method for implementing a 3-D transverse oscillation (TO) velocity estimator on a 3-MHz RC array is developed and validated. First, a parametric simulation study is conducted, where flow direction, ensemble length, number of pulse cycles, steering angles, transmit/receive apodization, and TO apodization profiles and spacing are varied, to find the optimal parameter configuration. The performance of the estimator is evaluated with respect to relative mean bias ${\tilde {B}}$ and mean standard deviation ${\tilde {\sigma }}$ . Second, the optimal parameter configuration is implemented on the prototype RC probe connected to the experimental ultrasound scanner SARUS. Results from measurements conducted in a flow-rig system containing a constant laminar flow and a straight-vessel phantom with a pulsating flow are presented. Both an M-mode and a steered transmit sequence are applied. The 3-D vector flow is estimated in the flow rig for four representative flow directions. In the setup with 90° beam-to-flow angle, the relative mean bias across the entire velocity profile is (−4.7, −0.9, 0.4)% with a relative standard deviation of (8.7, 5.1, 0.8)% for ( $v_{x}, v_{y}, v_{z}$ ). The estimated peak velocity is 48.5 ± 3 cm/s giving a −3% bias. The out-of-plane velocity component perpendicular to the cross section is used to estimate volumetric flow rates in the flow rig at a 90° beam-to-flow angle. The estimated mean flow rate in this setup is 91.2 ± 3.1 L/h corresponding to a bias of −11.1%. In a pulsating flow setup, flow rate measured during five cycles is 2.3 ± 0.1 mL/stroke giving a negative 9.7% bias. It is concluded that accurate 3-D vector flow estimation can be obtained using a 2-D RC-addressed array.

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TL;DR: The findings show that the walled bifurcation phantoms developed with the new protocol are useful in vascular imaging studies that individually or jointly assess wall motion and flow dynamics.

Abstract: As a major application domain of vascular ultrasound, the carotid artery has long been the subject of anthropomorphic phantom design. It is nevertheless not trivial to develop walled carotid phantoms that are compatible for use in integrative imaging of carotid wall motion and flow dynamics. In this paper, we present a novel phantom design protocol that can enable efficient fabrication of walled carotid bifurcation phantoms with: 1) high acoustic compatibility; 2) artery-like vessel elasticity; and 3) stenotic narrowing feature. Our protocol first involved direct fabrication of the vessel core and an outer mold using computer-aided design tools and 3-D printing technology; these built parts were then used to construct an elastic vessel tube through investment casting of a polyvinyl alcohol containing mixture, and an agar-gelatin tissue mimicking slab was formed around the vessel tube. For demonstration, we applied our protocol to develop a set of healthy and stenosed (25%, 50%, and 75%) carotid bifurcation phantoms. Plane wave imaging experiments were performed on these phantoms using an ultrasound scanner with channel-level configurability. Results show that the wall motion dynamics of our phantoms agreed with pulse wave propagation in an elastic vessel (pulse wave velocity of 4.67 ± 0.71 m/s measured at the common carotid artery), and their flow dynamics matched the expected ones in healthy and stenosed bifurcation (recirculation and flow jet formation observed). Integrative imaging of vessel wall motion and blood flow dynamics in our phantoms was also demonstrated, from which we observed fluid-structure interaction differences between healthy and diseased bifurcation phantoms. These findings show that the walled bifurcation phantoms developed with our new protocol are useful in vascular imaging studies that individually or jointly assess wall motion and flow dynamics.

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Duke University

^{1}TL;DR: 3-D shear wave reconstruction methods are introduced as an extension of the previous 2-D estimation methods and the reduction in image artifacts is quantified through the use of volumetric SWS monitoring and 4-D-directional filters.

Abstract: Shear waves propagating through interfaces where there is a change in stiffness cause reflected waves that can lead to artifacts in shear wave speed (SWS) reconstructions. Two-dimensional (2-D) directional filters are commonly used to reduce in-plane reflected waves; however, SWS artifacts arise from both in- and out-of-imaging-plane reflected waves. Herein, we introduce 3-D shear wave reconstruction methods as an extension of the previous 2-D estimation methods and quantify the reduction in image artifacts through the use of volumetric SWS monitoring and 4-D-directional filters. A Gaussian acoustic radiation force impulse excitation was simulated in phantoms with Young’s modulus ( $E$ ) of 3 kPa and a 5-mm spherical lesion with $E = 6$ , 12, or 18.75 kPa. The 2-D-, 3-D-, and 4-D-directional filters were applied to the displacement profiles to reduce in-and out-of-plane reflected wave artifacts. Contrast-to-noise ratio and SWS bias within the lesion were calculated for each reconstructed SWS image to evaluate the image quality. For 2-D SWS image reconstructions, the 3-D-directional filters showed greater improvements in image quality than the 2-D filters, and the 4-D-directional filters showed marginal improvement over the 3-D filters. Although 4-D-directional filters can further reduce the impact of large magnitude out-of-plane reflection artifacts in SWS images, computational overhead and transducer costs to acquire 3-D data may outweigh the modest improvements in image quality. The 4-D-directional filters have the largest impact in reducing reflection artifacts in 3-D SWS volumes.

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TL;DR: The results suggest VisR's potential relevance to quantifying viscoelastic properties clinically and suggest the feasibility of corrected VisR imaging in vivo in the rectus femoris muscle of an adult with no known neuromuscular disorders is suggested.

Abstract: Viscoelastic response (VisR) ultrasound is an acoustic radiation force (ARF)-based imaging method that fits induced displacements to a one-dimensional (1-D) mass-spring-damper (MSD) model to estimate the ratio of viscous to elastic moduli, $\tau$ , in viscoelastic materials. Error in VisR $\tau$ estimation arises from inertia and acoustic displacement underestimation. These error sources are herein evaluated using finite-element method (FEM) simulations, error correction methods are developed, and corrected VisR $\tau$ estimates are compared with true simulated $\tau$ values to assess VisR’s relevance to quantifying viscoelasticity. With regard to inertia, adding a mass term in series with the Voigt model, to achieve the MSD model, accounts for inertia due to tissue mass when ideal point force excitations are used. However, when volumetric ARF excitations are applied, the induced complex system inertia is not described by the single-degree-of-freedom MSD model, causing VisR to overestimate $\tau$ . Regarding acoustic displacement underestimation, associated deformation of ARF-induced displacement profiles further distorts VisR $\tau$ estimates. However, median error in VisR $\tau$ is reduced to approximately $-10\%$ using empirically derived error correction functions applied to simulated viscoelastic materials with viscous and elastic properties representative of tissue. The feasibility of corrected VisR imaging is then demonstrated in vivo in the rectus femoris muscle of an adult with no known neuromuscular disorders. These results suggest VisR’s potential relevance to quantifying viscoelastic properties clinically.

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TL;DR: Assessment of the feasibility of HFR 3-D TDI using diverging waves (DWs) on a clinical transducer with SAP beamforming limitations indicates that HFR3-DTDI is feasible in systems with clinical 2-D matrix arrays, despite the limitations of SAPbeamforming.

Abstract: Several clinical settings could benefit from 3-D high frame rate (HFR) imaging and, in particular, HFR 3-D tissue Doppler imaging (TDI). To date, the proposed methodologies are based mostly on experimental ultrasound platforms, making their translation to clinical systems nontrivial as these have additional hardware constraints. In particular, clinically used 2-D matrix array transducers rely on subaperture (SAP) beamforming to limit cabling between the ultrasound probe and the back-end console. Therefore, this paper is aimed at assessing the feasibility of HFR 3-D TDI using diverging waves (DWs) on a clinical transducer with SAP beamforming limitations. Simulation studies showed that the combination of a single DW transmission with SAP beamforming results in severe imaging artifacts due to grating lobes and reduced penetration. Interestingly, a promising tradeoff between image quality and frame rate was achieved for scan sequences with a moderate number of transmit beams. In particular, a sparse sequence with nine transmissions showed good imaging performance for an imaging sector of $70 {^{\circ }}\times 70 {^{\circ }}$ at volume rates of approximately 600 Hz. Subsequently, this sequence was implemented in a clinical system and TDI was recorded in vivo on healthy subjects. Velocity curves were extracted and compared against conventional TDI (i.e., with focused transmit beams). The results showed similar velocities between both beamforming approaches, with a cross-correlation of 0.90 ± 0.11 between the traces of each mode. Overall, this paper indicates that HFR 3-D TDI is feasible in systems with clinical 2-D matrix arrays, despite the limitations of SAP beamforming.

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TL;DR: A technique that measures the nonlinear shear modulus (NLSM) (μNL) in vivo and showed its utility to detect breast lesions from healthy tissue and the potential of the acoustoelasticity theory in quasi-incompressible medium to bring a new parameter for breast cancer diagnosis.

Abstract: Breast cancer detection in the early stages is of great importance since the prognosis, and the treatment depends more on this. Multiple techniques relying on the mechanical properties of soft tissues have been developed to help in early detection. In this study, we implemented a technique that measures the nonlinear shear modulus (NLSM) ( ${\mu _{{\text{NL}}}}$ ) in vivo and showed its utility to detect breast lesions from healthy tissue. The technique relies on the acoustoelasticity theory in quasi-incompressible media. In order to recover ${\mu _{{\text{NL}}}}$ , static elastography and supersonic shear imaging are combined to subsequently register strain maps and shear modulus maps while the medium is compressed. Then, ${\mu _{{\text{NL}}}}$ can be recovered from the relationship between the stress, deduced from strain maps, and the shear modulus. For this study, a series of five nonlinear phantoms were built using biological tissue (pork liver) inclusions immersed in an agar-gelatin gel. Furthermore, 11 in vivo acquisitions were performed to characterize the NLSM of breast tissue. The phantom results showed a very good differentiation of the liver inclusions when measuring ${\mu _{{\text{NL}}}}$ with a mean value of $- {{114}}.{{1}}\;{\text{kPa}}$ compared to $- {{34}}.{{7}}\;{\text{kPa}}$ for the gelatin. Meanwhile, values for the shear modulus for the liver and the gelatin were very similar, 3.7 and 3.4 kPa, respectively. In vivo NLSM mean value for the healthy breast tissue was of $- {{95}}\;{\text{kPa}}$ , while mean values of the benign and the malignant lesions were $- {{619}}$ and $- {{806}}\;{\text{kPa}}$ with a strong variability, respectively. This study shows the potential of the acoustoelasticity theory in quasi-incompressible medium to bring a new parameter for breast cancer diagnosis.

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TL;DR: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is developing a linear ion-trap-based mercury ion clock, referred to as DSAC (DeepSpace Atomic Clock), which is expected to provide a new capability with broad application to space-based navigation and science.

Abstract: There are many different atomic frequency standard technologies but only few meet the demanding performance, reliability, size, mass, and power constraints required for space operation. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is developing a linear ion-trap-based mercury ion clock, referred to as DSAC (Deep-Space Atomic Clock) under NASA’s Technology Demonstration Mission program. This clock is expected to provide a new capability with broad application to space-based navigation and science. A one-year flight demonstration is planned as a hosted payload following an early 2017 launch. This first-generation mercury ion clock for space demonstration has a volume, mass, and power of 17 L, 16 kg, and 47 W, respectively, with further reductions planned for follow-on applications. Clock performance with a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR)*Q limited stability of $1.5{\rm E}-13/\tau^{1/2}$ has been observed and a fractional frequency stability of 2E–15 at one day measured (no drift removed). Such a space-based stability enables autonomous timekeeping of $\Delta t with a technology capable of even higher stability, if desired. To date, the demonstration clock has been successfully subjected to mechanical vibration testing at the $14\,{\rm g}_{\rm rms}$ level, thermal-vacuum operation over a range of $42^\circ{\rm C}$ , and electromagnetic susceptibility tests.

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TL;DR: The results show that compact targeted lesions with sharp boundaries can be generated through intact skullcaps using histotripsy with very short pulses without using aberration correction, which has the potential to greatly simplify transcranial ultrasound therapy for noninvasive transcranials applications.

Abstract: This study demonstrates the ability of histotripsy to generate targeted lesions through the skullcap without using aberration correction. Histotripsy therapy was delivered using a 500-kHz 256-element hemispherical transducer with an aperture diameter of 30 cm, and a focal distance of 15 cm fabricated in our laboratory. This transducer is theoretically capable of producing peak rarefactional pressures, based on linear estimation, (p-) $_{\text{LE}}$ , in the free field in excess of 200 MPa with pulse durations $\leq$ 2 acoustic cycles. Three excised human skullcaps were used displaying attenuations of 73%–81% of the acoustic pressure without aberration correction. Through all three skullcaps, compact lesions with radii less than $1\,\text{mm}$ were generated in red blood cell agarose tissue phantoms without aberration correction, using estimated (p-) $_{\text{LE}}$ of $28\text{-}39\,\text{MPa}$ , a pulse repetition frequency of $1\,\text{Hz}$ , and a total number of 300 pulses. Lesion generation was consistently observed at the geometric focus of the transducer as the position of the skullcap with respect to the transducer was varied, and multiple-patterned lesions were generated transcranially by mechanically adjusting the position of the skullcap with respect to the transducer to target different regions within. These results show that compact targeted lesions with sharp boundaries can be generated through intact skullcaps using histotripsy with very short pulses without using aberration correction. Such capability has the potential to greatly simplify transcranial ultrasound therapy for noninvasive transcranial applications, as current ultrasound transcranial therapy techniques all require sophisticated aberration correction.