Ultrasound contrast agents (UCAs) are small micro-bubbles that behave nonlinearly when exposed to an ultrasound wave. This nonlinear behavior can be observed through the generated higher harmonics in a back-scattered echo. In past years several techniques have been proposed to detect or image harmonics produced by UCAs. In these proposed works, the harmonics generated in the medium during the propagation of the ultrasound wave played an important role, since these harmonics compete with the harmonics generated by the micro-bubbles. We present a method for the reduction of the second harmonic generated during nonlinear-propagation-dubbed second harmonic inversion (SHI). A general expression for the suppression signals is also derived. The SHI technique uses two pulses, p′ and p″, of the same frequency f0and the same amplitude P0to cancel out the second harmonic generated by nonlinearities of the medium. Simulations show that the second harmonic is reduced by 40 dB on a large axial range. Experimental SHI B-mode images, from a tissue-mimicking phantom and UCAs, show an improvement in the agent-to-tissue ratio (ATR) of 20 dB compared to standard second harmonic imaging and 13 dB of improvement in harmonic power Doppler.

doi.org/10.1088/0031-9155/56/11/001, hdl.handle.net/1765/33408
Physics in Medicine and Biology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Pasovic, M., Danilouchkine, M., Faez, T., van Neer, P., Cachard, C., Basset, O., … de Jong, N. (2011). Second harmonic inversion for ultrasound contrast harmonic imaging. Physics in Medicine and Biology, 56(11), 3163–3180. doi:10.1088/0031-9155/56/11/001