A method for accurate in silico modeling of ultrasound transducer arrays.
This paper presents a new approach to improve the in silico modeling of ultrasound transducer arrays. While current simulation tools accurately predict the theoretical element spatio-temporal pressure response, transducers do not always behave as theorized. In practice, using the probe's physical dimensions and published specifications in silico, often results in unsatisfactory agreement between simulation and experiment. We describe a general optimization procedure used to maximize the correlation between the observed and simulated spatio-temporal response of a pulsed single element in a commercial ultrasound probe. A linear systems approach is employed to model element angular sensitivity, lens effects, and diffraction phenomena. A numerical deconvolution method is described to characterize the intrinsic electro-mechanical impulse response of the element. Once the response of the element and optimal element characteristics are known, prediction of the pressure response for arbitrary apertures and excitation signals is performed through direct convolution using available tools. We achieve a correlation of 0.846 between the experimental emitted waveform and simulated waveform when using the probe's physical specifications in silico. A far superior correlation of 0.988 is achieved when using the optimized in silico model. Electronic noise appears to be the main effect preventing the realization of higher correlation coefficients. More accurate in silico modeling will improve the evaluation and design of ultrasound transducers as well as aid in the development of sophisticated beamforming strategies.
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