Improved Plane-Wave Ultrasound Beamforming by Incorporating Angular Weighting and Coherent Compounding in Fourier Domain.

C. Chen, G.A.G.M. Hendriks, R.J.G. van Sloun, H.H.G. Hansen and C.L. de Korte

IEEE transactions on ultrasonics, ferroelectrics, and frequency control 2018;65:749-765

DOI PMID

Abstract

In this paper, a novel processing framework is introduced for Fourier-domain beamforming of plane-wave ultrasound data, which incorporates coherent compounding and angular weighting in the Fourier domain. Angular weighting implies spectral weighting by a 2-D steering-angle-dependent filtering template. The design of this filter is also optimized as part of this paper. Two widely used Fourier-domain plane-wave ultrasound beamforming methods, i.e., Lu's f-k and Stolt's f-k methods, were integrated in the framework. To enable coherent compounding in Fourier domain for the Stolt's f-k method, the original Stolt's f-k method was modified to achieve alignment of the spectra for different steering angles in k-space. The performance of the framework was compared for both methods with and without angular weighting using experimentally obtained data sets (phantom and in vivo), and data sets (phantom) provided by the IEEE IUS 2016 plane-wave beamforming challenge. The addition of angular weighting enhanced the image contrast while preserving image resolution. This resulted in images of equal quality as those obtained by conventionally used delay-and-sum (DAS) beamforming with apodization and coherent compounding. Given the lower computational load of the proposed framework compared to DAS, to our knowledge it can, therefore, be concluded that it outperforms commonly used beamforming methods such as Stolt's f-k, Lu's f-k, and DAS.