Grating lobe mitigation on large-pitch arrays using null subtraction imaging

Mick Gardner, Rita J. Miller, Michael L. Oelze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Null Subtraction Imaging (NSI) is a novel beamforming technique that can produce B-mode images resulting in high spatial resolution and low computational cost compared to other beamforming techniques. Previous work has demonstrated that in addition to a beam pattern with a narrow main lobe and low side lobes, NSI can also reduce or mitigate grating lobes, which can appear when the array pitch is larger than one half the wavelength of the transmitted pulse. These grating lobes can result in imaging artifacts that produce clutter and lower contrast. By lowering grating lobe levels, a larger pitch array could be used, which could allow arrays with a larger field of view while maintaining a standard element count. This could have important benefits for specific applications such as ultrasonic abdominal imaging. Experiments were conducted to examine the feasibility of using NSI with large pitch, wide field-of-view arrays. Grating lobe reduction was measured against array pitch, DC offset, and f-number. Experiments were conducted on wire targets and contrast targets in a phantom and results were further verified in vivo by imaging the liver of a rabbit. The results demonstrated that NSI was able to reduce grating lobe brightness by up to 45 dB compared to delay-and-sum (DAS) beamforming when using planewave transmissions, reduce the generalized contrast-to-noise ratio (gCNR) of grating lobe regions from 0.60 to 0.08, and maintain a similar speckle quality to DAS. The gCNR of anechoic regions also improves, increasing from 0.09 to 0.15 on an array with a pitch of 5 wavelengths. Due to significant grating lobe level reduction, NSI shows potential to improve image quality over DAS on a large pitch, wide field-of-view array.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107302
StatePublished - May 2024


  • Apodization
  • Beamforming
  • Grating lobes
  • Null Subtraction Imaging
  • Sparse array
  • f-number

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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