Simulation study of effects of speed of sound and attenuation on ultrasound lateral resolution

Quan Chen, James A. Zagzebski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Experiments have shown that the lateral profile of a point target measured with a clinical ultrasound scanner is wider when the target is embedded in a urethane phantom than when it is in a traditional gel phantom. The behavior has been attributed to the low speed of sound in the urethane material, with the possibility that some of the broadening is caused by increased attenuation in this material. In this paper we apply a computer simulation model to study this behavior. Lateral beam profiles modeled for targets within a medium having a speed of sound and an attenuation matching that of urethane are compared with profiles for targets in a water-based gel. Simulations yield results that agree qualitatively with published experimental results. The lateral profile broadening in urethane is caused by the 6 % mismatch between speed of sound in this material and the speed of sound assumed in the receive focusing and beam forming. Attenuation plays a lesser role than the mismatch of the speed of sound. (E-mail: [email protected])

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1297-1306
Number of pages10
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to Dr. Yadong Li for assistance with computer modeling. This research was supported in part by NIH grant R01CA39224.


  • Attenuation
  • Resolution
  • Simulation
  • Speed of sound
  • Ultrasound quality control
  • Urethane phantom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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