ANR Ultrafast4D

Ultrafast4D project : ultrafast volumic imaging on low channels probe.

Coordinator : Thomas Deffieux thomas.deffieux (arobase) espci.fr

Update : Accepted oral presentation and poster by Inserm U979 & Vermon at IEEE IUS 2017 !

See you in Washington DC In September !

Update : New Publication In Physics In Medecine & Biology by Inserm U979 & Vermon !

4D in vivo ultrafast ultrasound imaging using a row-column addressed matrix and coherently-compounded orthogonal plane waves.
Flesch, M., M. Pernot, J. Provost, G. Ferin, A. Nguyen-Dinh, M. Tanter, and T. Deffieux.
Physics in Medicine and Biology 62, no. 11 (2017) : 4571–4588.

Ultrasound imaging is widely used in clinical practice where it is praised for its low cost, high resolution, high frame rate and portability.
In the last decade, the introduction of ultrafast imaging (>10000 frames per second) has enabled new acquisition modes such as quantitative shear wave elastography or ultrasensitive Doppler. In the mean time, incremental shifts toward integrated 3D imaging systems have enabled true volumic acquisition but at much lower framerates and high cost.

The project aims at the development of ultrafast 4D ultrasound imaging solutions compatible with commercial ultrafast scanners featuring only few hundreds addressable channels. Recently, ultrafast 4D ultrasound imaging has been demonstrated in vivo at several thousands volumes per second at the Langevin institute using our unique 1024 channels prototype scanner. The prototype enables new ultrasound modalities such as shear wave elastography and ultrasensitive Doppler in full 3D. We believe ultrafast 4D ultrasound imaging is key issue for the development of new diagnostic applications, better monitoring and improved image quality in ultrasound imaging in the next decades for the benefit of patients.

We also understand that scaling this platform to larger field of views will require such a large number of acquisition channels that the complexity and the cost will hinder any practical benefits outside of the research domains. If a fully sampled matrix probe with high channel count approach is the most complete and will stay the reference technique for 3D imaging in research and ultrafast 4D ultrasound imaging, it however, has several limitations for clinical applications :
-  The full 2D matrix array and the 1024 channels scanner are expensive to build and the market has not yet been clearly identified to justify the extra-cost of this solution over conventional ultrafast scanner such as the Aixplorer ™ having only 256 channels.
-  Scaling to larger number of elements is technically difficult. For number of channels higher than 1024 (32x32), it is technically very challenging to build the array and inherently connecting the full transducer population to the system. The cable is therefore becoming a limiting factor for portability and ergonomics of the probe.
-  Increasing the transducer frequency to higher than 8 MHz is another technical challenge to take up since the width of individual elements of probe is reversely proportional.

For all these reasons, Ultrafast4D project is proposing an alternative approach suitable to address the technical and economical challenges while maintaining our goal of ultrafast volume rate at high quality.


In vivo reconstruction of the carotid using the technologies developped in the project. M.Flesch, (c) Inserm U979.

The consortium of Ultrafast4D is composed of world leading research institutions and companies in the field of ultrafast imaging and ultrasound transducers. Langevin Institute/Inserm U979 and SuperSonic Imagine have pioneered the field of ultrafast imaging and shear wave elastography and developed the concept of coherent plane waves compounding for synthetically focusing ultrasound everywhere in the image. VERMON as world leading company in ultrasound instrument owns several international patents granted on matrix transducers and transducer designs that will ensure the future commercialization of Ultrafast4D products ; VERMON has also experienced long collaboration with the Langevin Institute on innovative solutions for 2D matrix arrays enabling preliminary research on ultrafast 4D imaging.

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