Over the past few years, extensive research has been carried out in the field of ultrasound contrast imaging. In addition to the development of new types of ultrasound contrast agents, various imaging methods dedicated to contrast agents have been introduced, and some of them are now commercially available. In this study, we present results of an imaging technique that is capable of detecting echoes from microbubbles and eliminating those emanating from nonoscillating structures (tissue), thereby enhancing contrast imaging. The method is based on mixing a low frequency (LF) modulator signal and a high frequency (HF) imaging signal to effectively modulate the size of the contrast microbubble through its volumetric oscillations using the LF signal and to probe the radial motion using the HF imaging signal. To evaluate the performances and limitations of the method, high-speed optical observations and acoustic measurements were carried out on soft-shelled microbubbles. The results showed that, by incorporating the modulator signal, the bubbles respond differently compared to the HF excitation alone. The decorrelation between the signals obtained at the compression and expansion phase of the modulator signal is significantly high to be used as a parameter to detect contrast microbubbles and discriminate them from tissue. The echo received from a solid reflector shows identical responses during the compression and rarefaction phase of the LF signal. In conclusion, these results demonstrate the feasibility of this fully linear approach for improving the contrast detection.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||IEEE transactions on ultrasonics, ferroelectrics and frequency control|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|
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