This paper introduces a new beamformer, which combines the eigenspace based minimum variance (ESBMV) beamformer with a subarray coherence based postfilter (SCBP), for improving the quality of ultrasound plane-wave imaging. The ESBMV beamformer has been validated in improving the imaging contrast, but the difficulty in dividing the signal subspace limits the usage of it in the low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) scenarios. Coherence factor (CF) based methods could optimize the output of a distortionless beamformer to reduce sidelobes, but the influence by the subarray decorrelation technique on the postfilter design has not attracted enough concern before. Accordingly, an ESBMV-SCBP beamformer was proposed in this paper, which used the coherence of the subarray signal to compute an SCBP to optimize the ESBMV results. Simulated and experimental data were used to evaluate the performance of the proposed method. The results showed that the ESBMV-SCBP method achieved an improved imaging quality compared with the ESBMV beamformer. In the simulation study, the contrast ratio (CR) for an anechoic cyst was improved by 9.88 dB and the contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) was improved by 0.97 over the ESBMV. In the experimental study, the CR improvements for two anechoic cysts were 7.32 dB and 9.45 dB, while the CNRs were improved by 1.27 and 0.66, respectively. The ESBMV-SCBP also showed advantages over the ESBMV-Wiener beamformer in preserving a less grainy speckle, which is closer to that of distortionless beamformers and benefits the imaging contrast. With a relatively small extra computational load, the proposed method has potential to enhance the quality of the ultrasound plane-wave imaging.
- Eigenspace based minimum variance beamformer
- Plane-wave imaging
- Wiener postfilter
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics