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Study and optimization of 2D matrix arrays for 3D ultrasound imaging.

Bakary Diarra 1
1 Imagerie Ultrasonore
CREATIS - Centre de Recherche en Acquisition et Traitement de l'Image pour la Santé
Abstract : 3D Ultrasound imaging is a fast-growing medical imaging modality. In addition to its numerous advantages (low cost, non-ionizing beam, portability) it allows to represent the anatomical structures in their natural form that is always three-dimensional. The relatively slow mechanical scanning probes tend to be replaced by two-dimensional matrix arrays that are an extension in both lateral and elevation directions of the conventional 1D probe. This 2D positioning of the elements allows the ultrasonic beam steering in the whole space. Usually, the piezoelectric elements of a 2D array probe are aligned on a regular grid and spaced out of a distance (the pitch) subject to the space sampling law (inter-element distance must be shorter than a mid-wavelength) to limit the impact of grating lobes. This physical constraint leads to a multitude of small elements. The equivalent in 2D of a 1D probe of 128 elements contains 128x128 = 16,384 elements. Connecting such a high number of elements is a real technical challenge as the number of channels in current ultrasound scanners rarely exceeds 256. The proposed solutions to control this type of probe implement multiplexing or elements number reduction techniques, generally using random selection approaches (" sparse array "). These methods suffer from low signal to noise ratio due to the energy loss linked to the small number of active elements. In order to limit the loss of performance, optimization remains the best solution. The first contribution of this thesis is an extension of the " sparse array " technique combined with an optimization method based on the simulated annealing algorithm. The proposed optimization reduces the required active element number according to the expected characteristics of the ultrasound beam and permits limiting the energy loss compared to the initial dense array probe. The second contribution is a completely new approach adopting a non-grid positioning of the elements to remove the grating lobes and to overstep the spatial sampling constraint. This new strategy allows the use of larger elements leading to a small number of necessary elements for the same probe surface. The active surface of the array is maximized, which results in a greater output energy and thus a higher sensitivity. It also allows a greater scan sector as the grating lobes are very small relative to the main lobe. The random choice of the position of the elements and their apodization (or weighting coefficient) is optimized by the simulated annealing. The proposed methods are systematically compared to the dense array by performing simulations under realistic conditions. These simulations show a real potential of the developed techniques for 3D imaging. A 2D probe of 8x24 = 192 elements was manufactured by Vermon (Vermon SA, Tours, France) to test the proposed methods in an experimental setting. The comparison between simulation and experimental results validate the proposed methods and prove their feasibility.
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  • HAL Id : tel-00933152, version 1

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Bakary Diarra. Study and optimization of 2D matrix arrays for 3D ultrasound imaging.. Medical Imaging. Université Claude Bernard - Lyon I, 2013. English. ⟨tel-00933152⟩

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