Volume Acquisition with High Channel Count
and/or High Element Count

3D volume image of a phantom acquired with the Vantage 256  System with a UTA 1024-MUX adapter and a 1024-element matrix array transducer.  The transmit-receive sequence was composed of 25 diverging wide beams located at four virtual sources with multiple transmit and receive apertures.

One of the challenges in combining multiple systems for research or product development is the synchronization of transmit and receive clocks for each system. Verasonics has developed a Multi-System Synchronization Module that can synchronize up to 8 Vantage systems for a total of 2048 channels. Multi-System clocks are synchronized to within 2ns by simply connecting via HDMI cables to the Multi-System Synchronization Module.

The unique Pixel-Oriented Processing software of the Vantage system makes it possible to create transmit and receive beamforming delays for virtually any transducer geometrical configuration and element positions, enabling the implementation of novel transducers and systems. The software is extremely flexible and allows for each element to have a separate geometric orientation from other elements in the same experiment or system. This flexibility is compatible with any shape, size or combination of transducers. For example, Vantage enables the user to implement 3D concave (bowl-shaped) transducers, ring arrays, 1D and 1.5D arrays, 2D matrix arrays, multiple simultaneous arrays and sparse arrays, as well as through-transmission ultrasound techniques. Support for new transducer technologies as well as novel imaging techniques and algorithms can be developed and simulated using Vantage software before testing on the Vantage hardware and transducer.

Volume Acquisition with 1024-element Matrix Arrays

Learn how Verasonics configures one or more Vantage systems to support high-element-count matrix arrays, and other products that may be required for volume imaging.
Matrix Array Transducers
The Vantage 256 system with the UTA 1024-MUX Adapter.
The transducer is a 1024-element (32 x 32) matrix array made by Vermon.

High Element / High Channel Count Systems

As scientists and researchers explore new ways to use ultrasonics, there is an increasing need to employ more elements and more channels. This is particularly true in the field of diagnostic medical ultrasound, where physicians have utilized 3D imaging to better understand complex anatomical structures, and 4D ultrasound (3D in real-time) to depict moving structures such as the valves in the heart.

For imaging moving structures, or to acquire a volume of data at high-speed, the optimal transducer is an electronically-steered phased array that uses a two-dimensional grid of elements. This type of transducer is often called a matrix array and may utilize hundreds or even thousands of elements. Several transducer manufacturers are now making matrix arrays in 8×8, 16×16, 32×32 and even higher element configurations.

There are some clinical ultrasound systems that employ matrix arrays, however these typically utilize only 192 or 256 channels. The transducers are multiplexed, and use “micro-beamforming” techniques to reduce the programming complexity and the volume of data that these probes acquire. Many scientists and researchers, however, would prefer to have a direct connection to every element for maximum flexibility, absolute control and complete data acquisition.

For Information About High Channel Count Imaging
or  Matrix Array Transducers
Contact Us

Applications of Volume Imaging with Matrix Arrays

High-element-count transducers and high-channel-count beamforming have many applications, including the rapid acquisition of a data set for a volume of tissue or material. Whereas conventional ultrasound imaging only acquires information along a single line or plane, matrix arrays enable volume imaging to characterize changes in structural properties or physiological events. For example, the deformation of a structure under stress can be better understood if the visualization is not limited to a single plane. Likewise, quantitative analysis of perfusion within tissue (wash-in, wash-out processes) may require that the entire volume be evaluated. Researchers doing functional imaging want to be able to characterize the blood flow changes throughout the area of interest, not only in a single plane.

Another application is in focused ultrasound for therapy research. Scientists working in the field of HIFU not only want to direct the delivery of energy in multiple planes, but also want to know how the tissues adjacent to the treated tissue are responding to that energy. High channel count arrays, controlled by a high-channel-count system, can facilitate both focused ultrasound for therapy, and conventional imaging for guidance and monitoring.

Finally, there is another potential for high-channel-count systems in the area of aberration correction. With conventional 2D imaging there is often image degradation due to echoes produced by out-of-plane structures. These structures are not visible, but the artifacts they produce can create confusing and misleading information. Current techniques for aberration correction can address artifacts that arise from in-plane structures, but not those from structures that lie out of the scan plane. A matrix array transducer, controlled by a high-channel-count system, provides opportunity for the researcher to detect and mitigate these artifacts.