Christopher A. Samson, Katherine Latham, and Jeremy A. Brown
School of Biomedical Engineering. Dalhousie University Halifax, Canada
Abstract—A digital variable sampling high-frequency beamformer implementing real-time grating lobe suppression is described. The system is tested using a semi-kerfed 64 element 45 MHz phased array with 1λ element pitch. The grating lobe suppression is facilitated with the sign coherence factor (SCF) and split-aperture transmit beamforming techniques. A new split-aperture transmit technique called “sub-aperture probing” (SAP) is described, experimentally validated, and compared to previously developed split-aperture techniques with respect to grating lobe suppression. Grating lobe levels were suppressed to be 49 and 60 dB below the main lobe when using 2 split-apertures with a SCF weighting factor of 1 and 2. These levels were further suppressed to 51 and 66 dB below the main lobe when splitting the aperture into 4 evenly sized apertures. When using SAP with 16 elements for the sub-aperture, grating lobes were suppressed to 49 and 64 dB below the main lobe. SAP with 8 elements yielded improved results compared to SAP with 16 elements; suppressing grating lobe levels to 49 and 65 dB below the main lobe for the associated SCF weighting coefficients. Finally the grating lobe suppression performance was tested on a wire target embedded in a tissue phantom and the signal to tissue speckle levels were characterized.