An adaptive beamforming method for ultrasound imaging based on the mean-to-standard-deviation factor

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HighlightsSignal mean-to-standard-deviation factor (SMSF) is proposed as a weighting factor for ultrasound imaging.A robust SMSF is derived from the Fourier-spectrum of aperture data.Square neighborhood average is applied to robust SMSF to enhance its performance.The proposed methods can reduce noise and reject clutter, thus achieve improvements in image resolution and contrast.The beamforming performance has a large impact on image quality in ultrasound imaging. Previously, several adaptive weighting factors including coherence factor (CF) and generalized coherence factor (GCF) have been proposed to improved image resolution and contrast. In this paper, we propose a new adaptive weighting factor for ultrasound imaging, which is called signal mean-to-standard-deviation factor (SMSF). SMSF is defined as the mean-to-standard-deviation of the aperture data and is used to weight the output of delay-and-sum (DAS) beamformer before image formation. Moreover, we develop a robust SMSF (RSMSF) by extending the SMSF to the spatial frequency domain using an altered spectrum of the aperture data. In addition, a square neighborhood average is applied on the RSMSF to offer a more smoothed square neighborhood RSMSF (SN-RSMSF) value. We compared our methods with DAS, CF, and GCF using simulated and experimental synthetic aperture data sets. The quantitative results show that SMSF results in an 82% lower full width at half-maximum (FWHM) but a 12% lower contrast ratio (CR) compared with CF. Moreover, the SN-RSMSF leads to 15% and 10% improvement, on average, in FWHM and CR compared with GCF while maintaining the speckle quality. This demonstrates that the proposed methods can effectively improve the image resolution and contrast.

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