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DESCRIPTION JP2011050490

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DESCRIPTION JP2011050490
To reduce side lobes and simplify the configuration and control of a three-dimensional ultrasonic
diagnostic apparatus in which an ultrasonic beam is two-dimensionally scanned using a 2D array
transducer. A sub-array pattern set on a 2D array transducer 16 has four sub-array groups A to
D. Each sub-array group AD includes a plurality of X-direction connectors (vertical pairs) Px and
a plurality of Y-direction connectors (horizontal pairs) Py, and these are densely mixed. Each Xdirection connector Px is composed of a plurality of vertically long sub-arrays aligned in the X
direction, and each Y-direction connector Py is composed of a plurality of horizontally long subarrays aligned in the Y direction. Each subarray has a rectangular shape, but by arranging a
plurality of subarrays having the same shape to form a rectangular connected body, diversity and
crowding can be realized on the subarray pattern. [Selected figure] Figure 3
Ultrasonic diagnostic equipment
[0001]
The present invention relates to an ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus, and more particularly to an
ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus provided with a 2D array transducer.
[0002]
Three-dimensional ultrasound diagnosis is spreading in the medical field.
In such a three-dimensional ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus, an ultrasonic beam is two-
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dimensionally scanned to form a three-dimensional space (three-dimensional echo data
acquisition space), and three-dimensional ultrasonic waves are generated based on volume data
obtained therefrom. An image is formed. For two-dimensional electronic scanning of an
ultrasonic beam, an ultrasonic probe (3D probe) for three-dimensional echo data acquisition
equipped with a 2D array transducer is used.
[0003]
A 2D array transducer is composed of a large number of transducer elements arranged in a twodimensional array (for example, composed of several thousands of transducer elements).
Therefore, in order to supply transmission signals to all the vibration elements and to process the
reception signals from all the vibration elements, it is necessary to prepare a great number of
transmission circuits and reception circuits, and also a 3D probe. You will have to use thick and
heavy cables. Therefore, channel reduction on the probe side is required, and several methods for
realizing it have been proposed as follows.
[0004]
In the first method, a plurality of subarrays are set on the array surface of a 2D array transducer,
and grouping processing is applied to each of the subarrays (see Patent Document 1 and Patent
Document 2). That is, a plurality of groups are set for each sub-array from the viewpoint of
similarity of delay time, and a plurality of element signals from a plurality of transducer elements
are added in group units to generate a group reception signal. It is intended to reduce.
[0005]
In the second method, a plurality of sub-arrays are set on the array surface of a 2D array
transducer, and sub delay addition processing (sub phasing addition processing) is performed for
each sub array (see Patent Document 3). That is, channel reduction is achieved by applying the
first stage phasing addition to a plurality of element signals from a plurality of transducer
elements constituting each sub array.
[0006]
Patent No. 3977827 specification Patent specification No. 39777826 specification JP 2000-
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33087 gazette
[0007]
In order to improve the image quality of a three-dimensional ultrasound image, it is desirable to
improve the sensitivity and at the same time reduce the side lobes (grating lobes).
If a subarray pattern in which a plurality of subarrays are simply and closely aligned in the
vertical and horizontal directions on the array surface is adopted, good sensitivity can be
obtained because a finite array surface can be used entirely, but due to the regularity of the
subarray arrangement It becomes easy to get out the side robe. On the other hand, if a plurality
of sub-arrays are randomly set on the array surface, although it becomes difficult to get out the
side lobes, a large number of gaps will be generated on the array surface, which causes a
problem of reduced sensitivity. Although it is conceivable to vary the shapes of the individual
sub-arrays, it is preferable to unify the shapes of the sub-arrays to a certain extent, since the
operations and processes for functioning the sub-arrays become complicated. For example, it is
desirable to use one or several sub-array shapes). In three-dimensional measurement,
consideration is also required in terms of reduction of circuit size and reduction of control data.
[0008]
An object of the present invention is to enable side lobe reduction and sensitivity improvement in
a three-dimensional ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus. Alternatively, an object of the present
invention is to enable simplification of the configuration and control while obtaining good
performance in a three-dimensional ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus.
[0009]
The present invention relates to a 2D array vibrator having a two-dimensional array type of
oscillating element group in which a sub-array pattern is set, and to a plurality of element signals
connected to the 2D array vibrator and in a sub-array unit The sub-array pattern includes a subprocessing unit that performs sub-processing and outputs a sub-processing result signal, and a
main processing unit that executes main processing on a plurality of sub-processing result
signals output from the sub-processing unit. And a plurality of X-direction connectors distributed
and arranged, and a plurality of Y-direction connectors distributed and arranged, wherein each of
the X-direction connectors is composed of a plurality of longitudinal sub-arrays aligned in the X
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direction, Each Y-direction connector includes a plurality of horizontally long subarrays aligned
in the Y direction, and each vertically long subarray is a rectangular subarray having the Y
direction as the longitudinal direction. Each Horizontal subarrays are rectangular subarrays with
the X direction as the longitudinal direction, characterized in that.
[0010]
In the above-described configuration, each connector is a group of rectangular subarrays aligned
and gathered.
Thereby, in designing the sub-array pattern, in principle, the connector (that is, the specified
shape block) can be used as a layout unit. In addition, it becomes easy to make a plurality of
connected bodies close to each other (that is, to increase the sensitivity by eliminating
unnecessary gaps). There are two types of connector, X-connector and Y-connector, and they are
mixed as a whole of the sub-array pattern. Therefore, the regularity of the whole sub-array
pattern is broken, and the side lobe is reduced. It can be done. Even with such a simple
configuration, diversity can be realized.
[0011]
Desirably, each said X direction connector and each said Y direction connector have the same
square shape. According to this configuration, since the shapes of the two types of connected
bodies are the same and moreover square, it is easy to eliminate unnecessary gaps, and when
arranging the connected bodies at a specific position at the time of layout. The type change is
also easy. Since the square is a pattern unit, the burden on manufacturing and control can be
reduced.
[0012]
Desirably, the number of the plurality of X direction connectors and the number of the plurality
of Y direction connectors are substantially the same. According to this configuration, sensitivity
in each direction can be balanced, and side lobes can be prevented from occurring in a specific
direction.
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[0013]
Preferably, each X direction connector is a vertically long pair of two vertically long subarrays,
and each Y direction connector is a horizontally long pair of two horizontally long subarrays.
Preferably, each X-direction connector includes s vertical sub-arrays, each vertical sub-array
includes m oscillators, and each Y-direction connector includes s horizontal sub-arrays. Each
horizontally long subarray is composed of m vibration elements. That is, a connected body is
configured by arranging a plurality of one-dimensional transducer rows horizontally. s and m are,
for example, two or more arbitrary numerical values.
[0014]
The present invention relates to a 2D array vibrator having a two-dimensional array type of
oscillating element group in which a sub-array pattern is set, and a plurality of element signals
connected to the 2D array vibrator and in a sub-array unit or a group unit in a sub-array. The
sub-array pattern includes a sub-processing unit that performs sub-processing and outputs a subprocessing result signal, and a main processing unit that executes main processing on a plurality
of sub-processing result signals output from the sub-processing unit. A plurality of sub-array
groups provided around the center point of the sub-array pattern, wherein each of the sub-array
groups is a plurality of X-direction connectors dispersed and a plurality of Y-direction connectors
dispersed. And each of the X-direction connectors is composed of a plurality of longitudinal subarrays aligned in the X-direction, and each of the Y-direction connectors is in the Y-direction.
Consists of the number of horizontal sub-arrays, wherein each longitudinal sub-array is a
rectangular sub-array to the Y direction is the longitudinal direction, each horizontal sub-array is
a rectangular sub-array of the X-direction as the longitudinal direction, it is characterized.
[0015]
According to the above configuration, transmission and reception of ultrasonic waves are
performed using a plurality of sub-array groups provided around the center point.
Each sub-array group is composed of a plurality of X direction connectors and a plurality of Y
direction connectors. The subarray population may further include isolated subarrays that do not
constitute a concatenation. In any case, since the sub-array group is configured as a plurality of
sub-arrays densely arranged, it is possible to prevent occurrence of sporadic gaps and to increase
sensitivity. Desirably, the sub-array pattern is configured such that "inter-group unevenness"
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occurs between adjacent sub-array groups. According to this configuration, the occurrence of
side lobes can be reduced more effectively than in the case where a plurality of sub-arrays are
simply and regularly arranged in two dimensions. Preferably, a rectangular central portion is
provided at the center of the sub-array pattern in order to create inter-group misalignment while
ensuring closeness within each sub-array group. Such gaps can be disturbing in a good way to
create a shift between multiple sub-array populations. Desirably, the intergroup unevenness is a
subarray group on one side (specifically, a subarray row in contact with the other side subarray
group, and a subarray array on the other side subarray group (more specifically, the one side
subarray group in it). In the case where the columns) face each other via the boundary, the
arrangement of both is shifted in the direction of the boundary, which means that the
arrangement of both is not aligned.
[0016]
One or more invalid elements that do not function in transmission and reception may be included
in the vibration element group that configures the 2D array transducer. Desirably, a plurality of
sub-array groups collectively constitute a circular area. In that case, the plurality of transducer
elements present outside the circular area usually become invalid elements. Desirably, each
subarray population is within a particular azimuthal angle, as viewed from its center point.
Desirably, four sub-array groups are provided, in which case the four sub-array groups are
arranged in four quadrants (first quadrant, second quadrant, third quadrant, fourth quadrant)
opened at 90 degrees on the array surface. Provided in the quadrant).
[0017]
Desirably, each sub-array group constitutes one control unit (first control unit), each sub-array
constitutes one control unit (second control unit), and is further set when a grouping system is
adopted. Each group constitutes one control unit (third control unit). Of course, it is also possible
to make the sub-array group one control unit or circuit unit. To describe an example, a pattern
selection signal (sub-array control signal) specifying a grouping pattern or a delay pattern is
provided for each sub-array group. Such patterns are dynamically controlled according to the
beam scanning direction. Also, channel reduction processing is performed for each sub array.
The channel reduction process includes a process of adding a plurality of element signals in a
group unit, a process of performing a phasing addition on a plurality of element signals in a sub
array unit, and the like. When a plurality of groups are set in the sub-array, each group is usually
composed of a plurality of vibration elements. A plurality of element signals output from a
plurality of vibration elements in the group are added to generate a group reception signal. One
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group may be configured by one vibrating element, in which case an element signal output from
the vibrating element is output as it is as a group reception signal. Each subarray may include
one or more invalid elements. A dedicated pattern selection signal may be provided for the
central sub-array. Alternatively, a pattern selection signal given to any sub-array group may be
diverted to the central sub-array to give it.
[0018]
Preferably, each sub-array group is configured by a plurality of dense and mixed X-direction
connectors and a plurality of Y-direction connectors. Preferably, each sub-array group is
composed of a plurality of dense and mixed X-direction connectors, a plurality of Y-direction
connectors and an isolated sub-array. When providing a plurality of isolated subarrays, it is
desirable to provide substantially the same number of longitudinal subarrays and horizontal
subarrays.
[0019]
Desirably, four quadrants are defined by two boundaries passing through the central point and
orthogonal to each other, and four sub-array groups are provided in the four quadrants.
Preferably, a rectangular central portion is provided at the center of the sub-array pattern, and
four sides of the central portion extend outward to form four boundaries, and the four
boundaries define four quadrants. The four quadrants are provided with four sub-array groups,
and intergroup imbalances occur between adjacent sub-array groups across the boundary lines.
Desirably, said group unevenness is a state in which adjacent sub array groups are shifted in the
direction of the boundary between them.
[0020]
Desirably, each subarray group has a closest inscribed subarray, and the inscribed subarray of
each subarray group touches a part or a specific corner of a specific side of the central portion of
the rectangle. According to such a configuration, it is possible to naturally generate the abovementioned inter-group irregularity.
[0021]
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Desirably, said group unevenness is a state in which two adjacent sub array groups are shifted by
m elements in the direction of the boundary between them. That is, the irregularity between
groups corresponds to the lateral displacement in the vibration element unit. Desirably, the
central portion of the rectangle has a size smaller than the size of each of the subarrays.
Preferably, the central portion of the rectangle is constituted by one or more reactive vibration
elements. Alternatively, the central portion of the rectangle is constituted by one or more
effective vibration elements. It is desirable to adopt the former configuration in order to obtain
the benefits of sub-array normalization.
[0022]
Preferably, each sub-process is a channel reduction process by grouping, and in each sub-array
group, the same grouping pattern is set for a plurality of sub-arrays belonging to it. Preferably,
each of the sub-processes is a channel reduction process by sub-phase adjustment addition, and
in each sub-array group, the same delay pattern is set for a plurality of sub-arrays belonging to it.
Preferably, the plurality of sub-array groups constitute a substantially circular area centered on
the central sub-array.
[0023]
According to the present invention, side lobe reduction and sensitivity improvement can be
achieved in a three-dimensional ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus. Alternatively, in the threedimensional ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus, the configuration and control can be simplified
while obtaining good performance.
[0024]
It is a block diagram showing an embodiment of an ultrasound diagnostic device concerning the
present invention. It is a figure which shows an example of the principal part structure centering
on the channel reduction circuit in the ultrasound diagnosing device shown in FIG. It is a figure
which shows the 1st example of a sub array pattern. It is an enlarged view which shows a
vertically long pair and a horizontally long pair. It is a figure which shows the 2nd example of a
sub array pattern. It is an enlarged view which shows the center part of the sub array pattern
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shown in FIG. It is a figure which shows the 3rd example of a sub array pattern. It is a figure
which shows the 4th example of a sub array pattern. It is a figure which shows the other example
of the principal part structure centering on the channel reduction circuit in the ultrasound
diagnosing device shown in FIG. It is a figure which shows the example of a setting of several
groups with respect to a vertically long subarray. FIG. 7 is a diagram showing an example of
setting of a plurality of groups for a horizontal sub array.
[0025]
Hereinafter, preferred embodiments of the present invention will be described based on the
drawings.
[0026]
An ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus is disclosed in FIG.
An ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus is an apparatus that forms an ultrasonic image by
transmitting and receiving ultrasonic waves to a living body in the medical field. The ultrasonic
diagnostic apparatus is roughly divided into a probe 10 and a main body 12. The code | symbol
14 has shown the probe cable which connects between both. The connector provided on the
probe 10 and the connector provided on the main body 12 are not shown.
[0027]
The probe 10 is an ultrasonic probe that transmits and receives ultrasonic waves while in contact
with the surface of a living body. However, the probe 10 may be inserted into a body cavity. The
probe 10 includes a 2D array transducer 16 and a channel reduction circuit 18. They are
provided in the probe head of the probe 10. However, the channel reduction circuit 18 may be
provided in the probe connector. The 2D array transducer 16 is composed of, for example,
several thousands of transducer elements 16a, which are aligned in the X direction and the Y
direction. For the vibrating element group, that is, on the array surface, a sub-array pattern
composed of a plurality of sub-arrays is set. The sub array pattern is determined as described
below from the viewpoint of simplification of control, reduction of side lobes, and improvement
of sensitivity.
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[0028]
The channel reduction circuit 18 is a circuit for reducing the number of signals (or signal lines)
required for transmission and reception. According to the channel reduction circuit 18, the probe
cable can be thinned, and the configurations of the transmitting unit 20 and the receiving unit 22
in the main body 12 can be simplified. The configuration illustrated in FIG. 9 is employed when
the grouping scheme is employed as the channel reduction scheme, and the configuration
illustrated in FIG. 2 is employed when the sub phasing addition scheme is employed. When the
grouping method is adopted, a plurality of groups are set for each sub array, and at the time of
transmission, the same transmission signal is supplied in parallel to a plurality of vibration
elements constituting each group, and at the time of reception A plurality of element signals
(element reception signals) output in parallel from the plurality of vibration elements constituting
the signal are added to generate a single group reception signal. On the other hand, when the sub
delay addition method is adopted as the channel reduction method, at the time of transmission, a
plurality of transmission signals generated by delay processing for the original transmission
signal are supplied in parallel to the plurality of transducer elements constituting the sub array.
At the time of reception, a plurality of element signals output in parallel from the plurality of
transducer elements constituting the sub array are subjected to sub phasing addition processing
to generate a sub array reception signal.
[0029]
Next, the configuration of the main body 12 will be described. The transmission / reception
control unit 24 controls the setting of the grouping pattern or the delay pattern for each subarray on the premise of the adopted specific sub-array pattern. The transmission unit 20 is a
transmission beamformer that generates a plurality of transmission signals corresponding to a
plurality of subarrays. When the grouping scheme is adopted, transmission signals for the total
number of groups are generated. When the sub phasing addition scheme is adopted,
transmission signals for the total number of sub arrays are generated. The receiver 22 is a
receive beamformer. When the grouping scheme is adopted, phasing addition processing is
performed on the group reception signals corresponding to the total number of groups, whereby
beam data corresponding to reception beams can be obtained. When the sub phasing addition
method is employed, main phasing addition processing (second phasing addition processing) is
performed on the sub array reception signals corresponding to the total number of sub arrays,
thereby obtaining beam data corresponding to reception beams . The operations of the
transmission unit 20 and the reception unit 22 are controlled by the transmission / reception
control unit 24.
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[0030]
The signal processing unit 26 has a configuration such as a detector, a logarithmic converter, and
the like, and executes various processes on the input received signal after phasing and addition,
that is, beam data. The beam data after signal processing is sent to the three-dimensional image
processing unit 28, and the three-dimensional image processing unit 28 forms a threedimensional ultrasound image based on the plurality of beam data. The image data is sent to the
display 30. As a three-dimensional image processing method, a volume rendering method, a
surface rendering method and the like are known. A plurality of beam data may be stored on a
three-dimensional data memory to construct volume data, and a three-dimensional ultrasound
image may be formed based thereon. The main control unit 32 comprises a CPU and an
operation program. An operation panel 34 provided with a keyboard, a trackball, and the like is
connected to the main control unit 32. The circuit that processes the Doppler information is not
shown.
[0031]
FIG. 2 shows a partial configuration of the ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus shown in FIG. FIG. 2 is
a block diagram showing a configuration example in the case of adopting the sub beam forming
method. Sub-array patterns are set on the 2D array transducer 16 as will be described in detail
later. The subarray pattern includes four subarray populations A to D. Each sub-array group AD
includes a plurality of vertically long pairs (X direction connected body) Px and a plurality of
horizontally long pairs (Y direction connected body) Py. They are dense and mixed. The vertically
long pair Px consists of two vertically long sub-arrays connected side by side in the X direction.
The horizontal pair Py is composed of two horizontal subarrays connected side by side in the Y
direction. In summary, the sub array pattern includes a plurality of sub arrays (SA-1 to SA-n), and
in this example, n sub arrays are set. n is, for example, a two-digit numerical value. Each pair
(each connection body) Px and Py has a quadrangular shape, and is constituted by i pieces × i
pieces of vibration elements. For example, i is an even number such as 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, but
the number can be arbitrarily determined. The size in the longitudinal direction of each subarray
corresponds to i vibrating elements, and the size in the lateral direction corresponds to i / 2
vibrating elements. In the present embodiment, four sub array groups A to D are set in the first
quadrant to the fourth quadrant on the 2D array transducer 16 with the center of the sub array
pattern as the origin. Each sub-array group A to D is a sub-array cluster (sub-array cluster). In
addition, a plurality of one-dimensional transducer arrays can be aligned to form a connected
square body.
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[0032]
A plurality of SBFs (sub-beam formers) (38-1 to 38-n) constituting the channel reduction circuit
18 are connected to the plurality of sub-arrays. The connection relationship is one to one. Each
SBF is a circuit that executes the first stage phasing addition process on a plurality of element
signals output in parallel from the corresponding sub-array. As a result, those element signals are
aggregated into one received signal. At the time of transmission, a plurality of transmission
signals having a delay relationship are generated from one transmission signal for each subarray,
and they are supplied to a plurality of transducer elements constituting the subarray. The SBF
also has a function as such a transmit beamformer. The main beam former 22A and the
transmitter 20 are connected in parallel to the n SBFs. n signal lines 21-1 to 21-n are connected
to the n SBFs.
[0033]
The transmission / reception control unit 24 outputs four control signal pairs, that is, eight
control signals 37ax, 37ay, 37bx, 37by,... 37dx, 37dy in the configuration example shown in FIG.
, C, d are identifiers of the sub-array group, and subscripts x, y are identifiers for identifying
whether the sub-array is of the portrait type or the landscape type). That is, they are control
signals for the first to fourth sub array groups A to D. Each control signal pair is composed of a
signal for designating a delay pattern for the vertically long sub-array and a signal for
designating a delay pattern for the horizontally long sub-array. That is, the same delay pattern is
set for a plurality of vertically long subarrays in the first sub array group A, and the same delay
pattern (delay condition) is set for a plurality of horizontally long subarrays in the same first sub
array group A. Ru. The same is true for other sub-array populations. Since sub-array groups A to
D are dense bodies of a plurality of sub-arrays, that is, they exist in the same local region, even if
they set a common delay pattern for them, the deterioration of transmission and reception
characteristics is not so great. . However, since the conditions are different between the vertical
sub array and the horizontal sub array, it is necessary to provide separate delay patterns for
them. Here, the sub array is a setting unit of sub beam forming, and the sub array group is a
control unit in which delay patterns (long delay pattern, horizontal delay pattern) are common. In
the present embodiment, the sub-array pattern is fixedly set on the array surface, but the delay
pattern is dynamically variably set according to transmission and reception conditions such as
the beam direction and the transmission focus depth. However, as described above, one type of
delay pattern is set for a plurality of sub-arrays of the same type in each sub-array group. Of
course, various modifications can be considered regarding these conditions.
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[0034]
The n signal lines (21-1 to 21-n) are connected to the n SBFs (38-1 to 38-n). The n signal lines
are connected in parallel to the transmission unit 20 and the reception unit 22 in the main body.
Thus, in the illustrated configuration example, the transmission unit 20 outputs n transmission
signals, and the reception unit 22 performs phasing addition processing on the n reception
signals. Although in FIG. 2 a plurality of control signals are transmitted in parallel, they may be
transmitted by time division using a single signal line. The transmission / reception control unit
24 may be provided in the probe 10.
[0035]
FIG. 3 shows a first example of a sub array pattern set on the 2D array transducer 16. As
described above, the 2D array transducer 16 is configured of a plurality of transducer elements
16 a aligned in the X direction and the Y direction. The circular area 103 is an area actually
transmitted and received. Individual rectangles indicate subarrays.
[0036]
The sub array pattern has a plurality of sub array populations A to D provided around its center.
Each sub-array group is composed of a plurality of closely-spaced sub-array pairs, and
specifically, includes a plurality of vertically long pairs Px and a plurality of horizontally long
pairs Py. Both are provided in substantially the same number. The plurality of vertically long
pairs Px and the plurality of horizontally long pairs Py are in a two-dimensionally mixed state.
The two pairs Px and Py have the same shape, that is, the same square. The square has the size of
i element × i element.
[0037]
As shown in FIG. 4, each vertically-long pair Px is composed of two vertically-long sub-arrays
112, 114 connected side by side in the X-direction, where each vertically-long sub-array 112,
114 Have a rectangular shape. Each horizontally long pair Py is composed of two horizontally
long subarrays 116, 118 connected side by side in the Y direction, where each horizontally long
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subarray 116, 118 has a rectangle whose longitudinal direction is the X direction. The size in the
longitudinal direction of each sub array 112 to 118 corresponds to i (four in the illustrated
example) vibration elements, and the size in the lateral direction of each sub array 112 to 118 is
i / 2 (2 in the illustrated example) Corresponds to the vibration element of However, nonstandard subarrays may be included in the subarray group.
[0038]
Returning to FIG. 3, the boundaries between the sub-array groups are represented by x and y.
Their boundaries cross at the center point. Focusing on each of the boundary lines x and y, an
alternate arrangement is realized such that sub-array pairs of the same type do not line up on
one side and the other side of the boundary lines. When the entire subarray pattern is observed,
a two-dimensional alternating arrangement of two subarray pairs is realized. If the number of
types of sub-arrays is reduced to a very small number for the entire sub-array pattern, an
advantage is obtained that the configuration and control can be simplified. Since only two types
of subarrays are used in the illustrated example, such advantages can be extracted effectively. In
addition, since each sub-array pair is configured as a quadrangle of the same shape, it is possible
to provide diversity (non-uniformity) within the sub-array group while avoiding the problem of
creating unnecessary gaps in the sub-array group. it can.
[0039]
Second to fourth examples of the sub array pattern will be described with reference to FIGS. 5 to
8. In the drawings, the same components as those shown in FIG. 3 are designated by the same
reference numerals, and the description thereof will be omitted.
[0040]
In the second example shown in FIG. 5, the sub array pattern set on the 2D array transducer 16A
is configured of a rectangular central portion 100 and four sub array groups A to D provided
around the center portion 100. Each sub-array group A to D is composed of a plurality of twodimensionally mixed vertically long pairs Px and a plurality of horizontally long pairs Py.
[0041]
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At the center of the 2D array transducer 16A, a rectangular central portion 100 smaller than the
prescribed size of the sub-array pair is set, and four sub-array groups A to D are arranged so as
to surround it and pack to the center side. It is provided. The four sub-array groups A to D are
provided in the first quadrant to the fourth quadrant when an orthogonal coordinate system
having the center on the 2D array transducer 16A as the origin is defined. Each sub-array group
A to D is composed of a plurality of sub-arrays densely arranged with one another, and there is
substantially no gap in each sub-array group.
[0042]
The central portion of the subarray pattern is shown as an enlarged view in FIG. The boundary
lines x1, y1, x2, y2 correspond to extension lines extended outward from the four sides 104-1 to
104-4 of the central portion 100. The boundary line x 1 and the boundary line x 2 extend in
opposite directions (positive and negative directions), and they are shifted in the Y direction by
the width of the central portion 100. The boundary line y1 and the boundary line y2 also extend
in opposite directions, and they are shifted by the width of the central portion 100 in the X
direction. Reference numerals 106-1 to 106-4 denote four corners of the central portion 100. O
is the center of gravity of the central portion 100 and the center of the 2D array transducer 16.
[0043]
Returning to FIG. 5, focusing on the first sub-array group A, it includes the inscribed sub-array
SAa1 closest to the central sub-array A, which is in contact with a specific side (the side on y1) of
the central portion 100 . From that point, other sub-arrays are closely packed at the center.
Similarly to the first sub-array group A, the second sub-array group B, the third sub-array group
C, and the fourth sub-array group D are also configured by a plurality of closely-packed sub
arrays, specifically, inscribed sub arrays SAb1, SAc1, and It has SAd1 and a plurality of subarrays extending in tandem with it.
[0044]
Focusing on the boundaries x1, y1, x2, y2 between adjacent ones of the four sub array groups A
to D, misalignment (intergroup imbalance) occurs on the respective boundary lines. For example,
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on the boundary line y1, a shift occurs between the first sub-array group A and the second subarray group B by i / 2 elements in the Y direction. Similarly, on the boundary line x 2, a shift
occurs between the second sub-array group B and the third sub-array group C by i / 2 elements
in the X direction. Similarly, between the third sub-array group C and the fourth sub-array group
D, and also between the fourth sub-array group D and the first sub-array group A, only i / 2
elements in the X direction or Y direction There is a gap. As a result, four intergroup
irregularities occur between the four adjacent groups in the four sub-array groups A to D. Since
the subarray pair row on one side and the subarray pair row on the other side of the boundary
line are shifted in the direction of the boundary line, the diversity of the subarray pattern can be
further enhanced. A remarkable side lobe reduction effect can be expected by this.
[0045]
In the third example shown in FIG. 7, the sub array pattern set on the 2D array transducer 16B
has four sub array groups A to D. Each sub-array group AD has a plurality of vertically long pairs
Px, a plurality of horizontally long pairs Py, and one isolated sub-array. The first sub-array group
A and the third sub-array group C have isolated sub-arrays Q1 and Q3 as horizontally long subarrays in contact with the center point of the sub-array pattern. They correspond to inscribed
sub-arrays. Second sub-array group B and fourth sub-array group D have isolated sub-arrays Q2
and Q4 as vertically long sub-arrays in contact with the center point of the sub-array pattern.
They also correspond to inscribed sub-arrays. By arranging the four isolated inscribed sub-arrays
in a wind turbine, and forming the respective sub-array groups (aggregates of sub-array pairs), it
is possible to naturally cause misalignment between the sub-array groups. In this case, since a
gap does not occur at the center, the effective area can be utilized in transmission and reception.
[0046]
In the fourth example shown in FIG. 8, the sub-array pattern set on the 2D array transducer 16C
is configured of the central portion 100 and four sub-array groups A to D. The fourth example
corresponds to a combination of the pattern shown as the second example and the pattern
shown as the third example. That is, after four isolated inscribed subarrays Q1 to Q4 are
provided in a windmill shape so as to contact the four sides of central portion 100, a plurality of
vertically long pairs Px and a plurality of horizontally long pairs Py are densely arranged in each
quadrant. ing. Focusing on the boundary line, misalignment occurs between adjacent groups, and
the amount of deviation between one side and the other side corresponds to the size of the
central portion 100.
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16
[0047]
FIG. 9 shows a partial configuration of the ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus shown in FIG. FIG. 9 is
a block diagram showing a configuration example in the case of adopting the grouping method.
In addition, the same code | symbol is attached | subjected to the structure similar to the
structure shown in FIG. 2, and the description is abbreviate | omitted.
[0048]
A plurality of SW (switch) circuits (SW1 to SWn) constituting the channel reduction circuit 18 are
connected to the plurality of sub arrays (SA-1 to SA-n). The connection relationship is one to one.
Each SW circuit sets a plurality of groups for the corresponding sub-array. Each group is
composed of a plurality of transducer elements whose delay amounts are similar to each other.
By such grouping, the same transmission signal can be supplied in parallel to a plurality of
vibration elements constituting a group, and a plurality of element signals outputted in parallel
from a plurality of vibration elements constituting a group can be added to 1 One group
reception signal can be generated. That is, channel reduction can be achieved at the time of
transmission and reception. Note that a plurality of groups are set for one sub-array, and
exceptionally, a group configured by one vibration element may be included. Also, some of the
vibration elements in the sub array may be invalid vibration elements. The transmit only element
and the receive only element may be set in the sub array.
[0049]
Four control signals 36ax, 36ay, 36bx, 36by,... 36dx, 36dy are signals for specifying a delay
pattern. That is, two types of control signals for vertical pair and horizontal pair are provided for
each sub-array group. Since the control signal can be shared for each sub-array group and for
each sub-array type, the circuit configuration can be simplified. A signal line sequence is
connected to each of the SW circuits SW1 to SWn. The signal line train is composed of the
number of signal lines corresponding to the maximum number of groups that can be set in one
sub array. In FIG. 9, the number is represented as j. The n signal line trains are connected in
parallel to the transmission unit 20 and the reception unit 22 in the main body. Thus, in the
illustrated configuration example, the transmission unit 20 outputs n × j transmission signals,
and the reception unit 22 performs phasing addition processing on the n × j reception signals.
Although in FIG. 9 a plurality of control signals are transmitted in parallel using a plurality of
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17
signal lines, they may be transmitted in time division on a single signal line. The transmission /
reception control unit 24 may be provided in the probe 10.
[0050]
Even when such a sub processing method is selected, any of the first to fourth examples can be
adopted as the sub array pattern, and it is also possible to adopt another sub array pattern. In
any case, it is possible to reduce side lobes effectively by using intergroup unevenness while
densifying sub-arrays and enhancing sensitivity.
[0051]
FIG. 10 shows some examples of grouping patterns set in the vertical sub-array. Each number
indicates the group number to which the vibration element belongs. A plurality of vibration
elements of the same number are electrically connected. FIG. 11 shows some grouping patterns
set in the horizontal sub array. The grouping pattern is dynamically switched according to the
movement of the three-dimensional position of the transmission focus point. The grouping
pattern shown in (C) of each figure includes invalid elements that do not belong to any group.
[0052]
10 probes, 12 bodies, 14 probe cables, 16 2D array transducers, 18 channel reduction circuits,
20 transmitters, 22 receivers, 24 transmit / receive controllers.
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