Diffusive Acoustic Confocal Imaging System (DACI): a novel method for prostate cancer diagnosis




Yin, Wen

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This thesis is part of the project undertaken to develop a diffusive acoustic confocal imaging system (DACI) that aims to differentiate between healthy and the diseased tissues in the prostate. Speed of sound is chosen as the tool to quantify the alterations in the tissues’ mechanical properties at different pathological states. The current work presents a scanning configuration that features three components: an acoustic emitter, a focusing mirror and a point receiver. The focusing mirror brings the collimated acoustic beam from the emitter into a focused probe position, which needs to be located within the bladder or at the near surface of the prostate. This position is introduced as the virtual source, where the acoustic intensity diffusively scatters into all directions and propagates through the specimen. The system design was simulated using ZEMAX and COMSOL to validate the concept of the virtual source. Lesions in a phantom prostate were found in the simulated amplitude and phase images. The speed of sound variation was estimated from the 1D unwrapped phase distribution indicating where the phase discontinuities existed. The measurements were conducted in a water aquarium using the tissue-mimicking prostate phantom. Two-dimensional projected images of the amplitude and the phase distributions of the investigating acoustic beam were measured. A USRP device was set up as the signal generation and acquisition device for the experiment. Two different signal extractions methods were developed to extract the amplitude and the phase information. The experimental results were found to generally agree with the simulation results. The proof-of-concept design was successful in measuring both the phase and the amplitude information of the acoustic signal passing through the prostate phantom. In future, the 2D/3D speed of sound variation needs to be estimated by an appropriate image reconstruction method.



acoustic imaging, prostate cancer diagnosis, diffusive acoustic confocal imaging, speed of sound, phase measurement, software defined radio (SDR), universal software radio peripheral (USRP)