Online evolution of a phased array for ultrasonic imaging by a novel adaptive data acquisition method

Lukacs, Peter and Stratoudaki, Theodosia and Davis, Geo and Gachagan, Anthony (2024) Online evolution of a phased array for ultrasonic imaging by a novel adaptive data acquisition method. Scientific Reports, 14 (1). 8541. ISSN 2045-2322 (

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Ultrasonic imaging, using ultrasonic phased arrays, has an enormous impact in science, medicine and society and is a widely used modality in many application fields. The maximum amount of information which can be captured by an array is provided by the data acquisition method capturing the complete data set of signals from all possible combinations of ultrasonic generation and detection elements of a dense array. However, capturing this complete data set requires long data acquisition time, large number of array elements and transmit channels and produces a large volume of data. All these reasons make such data acquisition unfeasible due to the existing phased array technology or non-applicable to cases requiring fast measurement time. This paper introduces the concept of an adaptive data acquisition process, the Selective Matrix Capture (SMC), which can adapt, dynamically, to specific imaging requirements for efficient ultrasonic imaging. SMC is realised experimentally using Laser Induced Phased Arrays (LIPAs), that use lasers to generate and detect ultrasound. The flexibility and reconfigurability of LIPAs enable the evolution of the array configuration, on-the-fly. The SMC methodology consists of two stages: a stage for detecting and localising regions of interest, by means of iteratively synthesising a sparse array, and a second stage for array optimisation to the region of interest. The delay-and-sum is used as the imaging algorithm and the experimental results are compared to images produced using the complete generation-detection data set. It is shown that SMC, without a priori knowledge of the test sample, is able to achieve comparable results, while preforming ~10 times faster data acquisition and achieving ~10 times reduction in data size.