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An Investigation of the Dynamic Response of a Novel Acousto-Optic Liquid Crystal Detector for Full-Field Transmission Ultrasound Breast Imaging

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J Rosenfield

J.R. Rosenfield*1, J.S. Sandhu2, and P.J. La Riviere1, (1) The University of Chicago, Department of Radiology, (2) Santec Systems Inc., Arlington Heights, Illinois


MO-A-BRD-1 Monday 7:30AM - 9:30AM Room: Ballroom D

Purpose: To characterize the dynamic response of a novel acousto-optic (AO) liquid crystal detector for high-resolution transmission ultrasound breast imaging. Transient and steady-state lesion contrast were investigated to identify optimal transducer settings for our prototype imaging system consistent with the FDA limits of 1 W/cm² and 50 J/cm² on the incident acoustic intensity and the transmitted acoustic energy flux density.

Methods: We have developed a full-field transmission ultrasound breast imaging system that uses monochromatic plane-wave illumination to acquire projection images of the compressed breast. The acoustic intensity transmitted through the breast is converted into a visual image by a proprietary liquid crystal detector operating on the basis of the AO effect. The dynamic response of the AO detector in the absence of an imaged breast was recorded by a CCD camera as a function of the acoustic field intensity and the detector exposure time. Additionally, a stereotactic needle biopsy breast phantom was used to investigate the change in opaque lesion contrast with increasing exposure time for a range of incident acoustic field intensities.

Results: Using transducer voltages between 0.3 V and 0.8 V and exposure times of 3 minutes, a unique one-to-one mapping of incident acoustic intensity to steady-state optical brightness in the AO detector was observed. A transfer curve mapping acoustic intensity to steady-state optical brightness shows a high-contrast region analogous to the linear portion of the Hurter-Driffield curves of radiography. Using transducer voltages between 1 V and 1.75 V and exposure times of 90 s, the lesion contrast study demonstrated increasing lesion contrast with increasing breast exposure time and acoustic field intensity. Lesion-to-background contrast on the order of 0.80 was observed.

Conclusion: Maximal lesion contrast in our prototype system can be obtained using the highest acoustic field intensity and the longest breast exposure time allowable under FDA standards.

Funding Support, Disclosures, and Conflict of Interest: Department of Defense (DOD) Breast Cancer Research Program IDEA Award W81XWH-11-1-0332; National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grant T32 EB002103-21 from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)

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