Ultrasound speckle has long been recognized as a noise source in diagnostic imaging. The advent of three-dimensional imaging and flow detection requires the characterization of the three-dimensional acoustical speckle pattern. Ultrasound data were acquired by using an automated three-dimensional translation stage to measure the radio-frequency (rf) backscatter signals from a volume scattering phantom. The data samples were processed off-line to locate and measure envelope-detected speckle peaks, i.e., local maxima. Results indicate that speckle has a distinctive structure in which three-dimensional peaks can be located and measured. These peaks are brighter on average than the mean speckle brightness level and are uniformly distributed throughout the volume. The lateral breadth of the speckle peaks, defined as the breadth of the -6 dB contour in the lateral-elevational plane, is over twice the width predicted by previous investigators. This is the first attempt to physically measure the breadth of bright spots in the speckle pattern. A rational for the discrepancy between previous theory and the measurement in this paper is given.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics