Hardware Architecture for Accelerating Frequency-Domain Ultrasound Image Reconstruction




Navaeilavasani, Pooriya

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Ultrasound is a widely employed biomedical imaging modality enabling non-invasive, low-cost, and real-time diagnostics. In a typical ultrasound system, a multi-channel transducer emits sound waves into the medium and then records returning echo signals that are subsequently converted into an image of the subsurface structure. Coherent plane-wave compounding (CPWC) is one of the latest ultrasound imaging techniques that involves emitting multiple plane-wave pulses at various angles and then combining angle-specific reconstructed image data into a final frame. This approach offers high data acquisition rates (e.g., hundreds or even thousands of raw data frames per second) that are crucial for capturing fast-changing phenomena in the imaged medium. High data acquisition rates should be matched with fast data processing to increase the frame rate of reconstructed, or beamformed, image frames. One example of highly efficient plane-wave beamforming methods is the Temme-Mueller algorithm that operates in the Fourier domain. This thesis describes a novel pipelined hardware architecture for accelerating the execution of this algorithm. The proposed design has been coded in VHDL and implemented on a modern Xilinx® field-programmable gate array (FPGA), taking advantage of Xilinx® intellectual property (IP) core reuse to reduce development time. Our architecture is capable of producing over 1,300 beamformed frames per second, where each frame contains 256K complex-valued data points using the 32-bit floating-point representation for both real and imaginary parts. The correctness of our FPGA-based beamformer has been verified by comparing its output to the reference software-based implementation of the Temme-Mueller algorithm. This verification was done on an experimental ultrasound dataset available as part of the public-domain PICMUS evaluation framework. Our evaluation results demonstrate that the proposed design provides a promising alternative to the conventional GPU-based approach to high-frame-rate ultrasound image reconstruction, paving the way for future algorithmic and architectural enhancements.



Beamforming, Frequency-Domain Ultrasound Image Reconstruction, FPGA implementation, Coherent plane-wave compounding (CPWC), Ultrafast ultrasound