Coherence-based quantification of acoustic clutter sources in medical ultrasound.
The magnitudes by which aberration and incoherent noise sources, such as diffuse reverberation and thermal noise, contribute to degradations in image quality in medical ultrasound are not well understood. Theory predicting degradations in spatial coherence and contrast in response to combinations of incoherent noise and aberration levels is presented, and the theoretical values are compared to those from simulation across a range of magnitudes. A method to separate the contributions of incoherent noise and aberration in the spatial coherence domain is also presented and applied to predictions for losses in contrast. Results indicate excellent agreement between theory and simulations for beamformer gain and expected contrast loss due to incoherent noise and aberration. Error between coherence-predicted aberration contrast loss and measured contrast loss differs by less than 1.5 dB on average, for a -20 dB native contrast target and aberrators with a range of root-mean-square time delay errors. Results also indicate in the same native contrast target the contribution of aberration to contrast loss varies with channel signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), peaking around 0 dB SNR. The proposed framework shows promise to improve the standard by which clutter reduction strategies are evaluated.
Long, J; Long, W; Bottenus, N; Trahey, G
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