Special Issue "Ultrasound B-mode Imaging: Beamforming and Image Formation Techniques"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Acoustics and Vibrations".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Giulia Matrone

Bioengineering Laboratory, Department of Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering, University of Pavia, Pavia 27100, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: ultrasound medical imaging; beamforming and image reconstruction techniques; signal processing; elastography; high-frame-rate imaging; ultrasound simulations and system-level analyses; microwave imaging for biomedical applications
Guest Editor
Dr. Alessandro Ramalli

Laboratory on Cardiovascular Imaging and Dynamics, Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven 3000, Belgium
Website | E-Mail
Interests: ultrasound systems; real-time signal processing; sparse arrays; ultrasound imaging; high frame rate imaging; cardiac imaging; flow imaging; vector Doppler; motion estimation; tissue Doppler imaging; elastography; ultrasound beamforming; pulse compression
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Piero Tortoli

Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell'Informazione, University of Florence, Firenze 350139, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: ultrasound systems development; innovative ultrasound imaging methods; ultrasound beamforming; flow and tissue Doppler imaging; vector Doppler; real-time signal processing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to introduce this Special Issue on “Ultrasound B-Mode Imaging: Beamforming and Image Formation Techniques” to be published in the open access journal Applied Sciences. Among the other diagnostic imaging modalities, ultrasound medical imaging stands out for patient-friendliness, high temporal resolution, low cost, and absence of ionizing radiation. On the other hand, it may still suffer from limited detail level, low signal-to-noise ratio, and narrow field-of-view. In the last decades, new beamforming and image reconstruction techniques have emerged which aim at improving resolution, contrast, and clutter suppression, especially in difficult-to-image patients. Nevertheless, achieving a higher image quality is of the utmost importance in diagnostic ultrasound medical imaging, and further developments are still indispensable. From this point of view, a crucial role can be played by novel beamforming techniques as well as by non-conventional image formation techniques (e.g., advanced transmission strategies, compounding, coded and harmonic imaging, etc.).

This Special Issue wishes to include novel contributions both on ultrasound beamforming and image formation techniques, particularly addressed at improving B-mode image quality and related diagnostic content. We warmly invite authors to collaborate to the Special Issue with original high-quality research or review papers.

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Giulia Matrone
Dr. Alessandro Ramalli
Prof. Piero Tortoli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Ultrasound medical imaging

  • Beamforming

  • Image formation

  • Transmission strategies

  • Image compounding

  • Coded imaging

  • Super-resolution imaging

  • Harmonic imaging

  • Image quality

  • Signal processing

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle A High-Efficiency Super-Resolution Reconstruction Method for Ultrasound Microvascular Imaging
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1143; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071143
Received: 17 June 2018 / Revised: 5 July 2018 / Accepted: 5 July 2018 / Published: 13 July 2018
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Abstract
The emergence of super-resolution imaging makes it possible to display the microvasculatures clearly using ultrasound imaging, which is of great importance in the early diagnosis of cancer. At present, the super-resolution performance can only be achieved when the sampling signal is long enough
[...] Read more.
The emergence of super-resolution imaging makes it possible to display the microvasculatures clearly using ultrasound imaging, which is of great importance in the early diagnosis of cancer. At present, the super-resolution performance can only be achieved when the sampling signal is long enough (usually more than 10,000 frames). Thus, the imaging time resolution is not suitable for clinical use. In this paper, we proposed a novel super-resolution reconstruction method, which is proved to have a satisfactory resolution using shorter sampling signal sequences. In the microbubble localization step, the integrated form of the 2D Gaussian function is innovatively adopted for image deconvolution in our method, which enhances the accuracy of microbubble positioning. In the trajectory tracking step, for the first time the averaged shifted histogram technique is presented for the visualization, which greatly improves the precision of reconstruction. In vivo experiments on rabbits were conducted to verify the effectiveness of the proposed method. Compared to the conventional reconstruction method, our method significantly reduces the Full-Width-at-Half-Maximum (FWHM) by 50% using only 400-frame signals. Besides, there is no significant increase in the running time using the proposed method. Considering its imaging performance and used frame number, the conclusion can be drawn that the proposed method advances the application of super-resolution imaging to the clinical use with a much higher time resolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasound B-mode Imaging: Beamforming and Image Formation Techniques)
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Open AccessArticle Speckle Reduction on Ultrasound Liver Images Based on a Sparse Representation over a Learned Dictionary
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(6), 903; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8060903
Received: 20 April 2018 / Revised: 28 May 2018 / Accepted: 28 May 2018 / Published: 31 May 2018
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Abstract
Ultrasound images are corrupted with multiplicative noise known as speckle, which reduces the effectiveness of image processing and hampers interpretation. This paper proposes a multiplicative speckle suppression technique for ultrasound liver images, based on a new signal reconstruction model known as sparse representation
[...] Read more.
Ultrasound images are corrupted with multiplicative noise known as speckle, which reduces the effectiveness of image processing and hampers interpretation. This paper proposes a multiplicative speckle suppression technique for ultrasound liver images, based on a new signal reconstruction model known as sparse representation (SR) over dictionary learning. In the proposed technique, the non-uniform multiplicative signal is first converted into additive noise using an enhanced homomorphic filter. This is followed by pixel-based total variation (TV) regularization and patch-based SR over a dictionary trained using K-singular value decomposition (KSVD). Finally, the split Bregman algorithm is used to solve the optimization problem and estimate the de-speckled image. The simulations performed on both synthetic and clinical ultrasound images for speckle reduction, the proposed technique achieved peak signal-to-noise ratios of 35.537 dB for the dictionary trained on noisy image patches and 35.033 dB for the dictionary trained using a set of reference ultrasound image patches. Further, the evaluation results show that the proposed method performs better than other state-of-the-art denoising algorithms in terms of both peak signal-to-noise ratio and subjective visual quality assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasound B-mode Imaging: Beamforming and Image Formation Techniques)
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Open AccessArticle A Nonlinear Beamformer Based on p-th Root Compression—Application to Plane Wave Ultrasound Imaging
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 599; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8040599
Received: 23 February 2018 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 31 March 2018 / Published: 11 April 2018
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Abstract
Ultrafast medical ultrasound imaging is necessary for 3D and 4D ultrasound imaging, and it can also achieve high temporal resolution (thousands of frames per second) for monitoring of transient biological phenomena. However, reaching such frame rates involves reduction of image quality compared with
[...] Read more.
Ultrafast medical ultrasound imaging is necessary for 3D and 4D ultrasound imaging, and it can also achieve high temporal resolution (thousands of frames per second) for monitoring of transient biological phenomena. However, reaching such frame rates involves reduction of image quality compared with that obtained with conventional ultrasound imaging, since the latter requires each image line to be reconstructed separately with a thin ultrasonic focused beam. There are many techniques to simultaneously acquire several image lines, although at the expense of resolution and contrast, due to interference from echoes from the whole medium. In this paper, a nonlinear beamformer is applied to plane wave imaging to improve resolution and contrast of ultrasound images. The method consists of the introduction of nonlinear operations in the conventional delay-and-sum (DAS) beamforming algorithm. To recover the value of each pixel, the raw radiofrequency signals are first dynamically focused and summed on the plane wave dimension. Then, their amplitudes are compressed using the signed p t h root. After summing on the element dimension, the signed p-power is applied to restore the original dimensionality in volts. Finally, a band-pass filter is used to remove artificial harmonics introduced by these nonlinear operations. The proposed method is referred to as p-DAS, and it has been tested here on numerical and experimental data from the open access platform of the Plane wave Imaging Challenge in Medical UltraSound (PICMUS). This study demonstrates that p-DAS achieves better resolution and artifact rejection than the conventional DAS (for p = 2 with eleven plane wave imaging on experimental phantoms, the lateral resolution is improved by 21 % , and contrast ratio (CR) by 59 % ). However, like many coherence-based beamformers, it tends to distort the conventional speckle structure (contrast-to-noise-ratio (CNR) decreased by 45 % ). It is demonstrated that p-DAS, for p = 2 , is very similar to the nonlinear filtered-delay-multiply-and-sum (FDMAS) beamforming, but also that its impact on image quality can be tuned changing the value of p. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasound B-mode Imaging: Beamforming and Image Formation Techniques)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Coherence of Backscattered Signals in Multi-Line Transmit Ultrasound Imaging and Its Effect on Short-Lag Filtered-Delay Multiply and Sum Beamforming
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 486; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8040486
Received: 6 February 2018 / Revised: 9 March 2018 / Accepted: 21 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
In Multi-Line Transmission (MLT), high frame-rate ultrasound imaging is achieved by the simultaneous transmission of multiple focused beams along different directions, which unfortunately generates unwanted artifacts in the image due to inter-beam crosstalk. The Filtered-Delay Multiply and Sum (F-DMAS) beamformer, a non-linear spatial-coherence
[...] Read more.
In Multi-Line Transmission (MLT), high frame-rate ultrasound imaging is achieved by the simultaneous transmission of multiple focused beams along different directions, which unfortunately generates unwanted artifacts in the image due to inter-beam crosstalk. The Filtered-Delay Multiply and Sum (F-DMAS) beamformer, a non-linear spatial-coherence (SC)-based algorithm, was demonstrated to successfully reduce such artifacts, improving the spatial resolution at the same time. In this paper, we aim to provide further insights on the working principle and performance of F-DMAS beamforming in MLT imaging. First, we carry out an analytical study to analyze the behavior and trend of backscattered signals SC in MLT images, when the number of simultaneously transmitted beams and/or their angular spacing change. We then reconsider the F-DMAS algorithm proposing the “short-lag F-DMAS” formulation, in order to limit the maximum lag of signals used for the SC computation on which the beamformer is based. Therefore, we investigate in simulations how the performance of short-lag F-DMAS varies along with the maximum lag in the different MLT configurations considered. Finally, we establish a relation between the obtained results and the signals SC trend. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasound B-mode Imaging: Beamforming and Image Formation Techniques)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Practical Guide to Ultrasound Beam Forming: Beam Pattern and Image Reconstruction Analysis
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(9), 1544; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8091544
Received: 9 August 2018 / Revised: 31 August 2018 / Accepted: 1 September 2018 / Published: 3 September 2018
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Abstract
Starting from key ultrasound imaging features such as spatial and temporal resolution, contrast, penetration depth, array aperture, and field-of-view (FOV) size, the reader will be guided through the pros and cons of the main ultrasound beam-forming techniques. The technicalities and the rationality behind
[...] Read more.
Starting from key ultrasound imaging features such as spatial and temporal resolution, contrast, penetration depth, array aperture, and field-of-view (FOV) size, the reader will be guided through the pros and cons of the main ultrasound beam-forming techniques. The technicalities and the rationality behind the different driving schemes and reconstruction modalities will be reviewed, highlighting the requirements for their implementation and their suitability for specific applications. Techniques such as multi-line acquisition (MLA), multi-line transmission (MLT), plane and diverging wave imaging, and synthetic aperture will be discussed, as well as more recent beam-forming modalities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasound B-mode Imaging: Beamforming and Image Formation Techniques)
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