Properties of acoustical speckle in the presence of phase aberration. Part I: First order statistics.
The first order statistical properties of acoustical speckle patterns are studied as a function of several types of random and structured phase error. Such errors may arise from tissue velocity inhomogeneities or limitations in the acoustical imaging system. In this paper, we review the theory describing the statistical properties of speckle, describe a computer model which predicts the mean speckle brightness in the presence of phase aberrations, and report experiments in which we measure the effect of these aberrations on speckle brightness and variance. We find that the average speckle brightness is significantly reduced by even mild phase aberrations. The phase aberrations studied include focal point errors, random phase errors, and structured errors. Good agreement is found between experiment and computer simulation. We then discuss the implications of these results for imaging through aberrating media, tissue characterization and phase compensation methods.
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