Ultrasonic diagnostic instruments

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Science  17 Oct 1980:
Vol. 210, Issue 4467, pp. 268-273
DOI: 10.1126/science.7423186


The underlying physical principles and current limitations of diagnostic ultrasonic instruments are reviewed. Recently developed ultrasonic imaging devices using pulsed-reflected ultrasound are discussed in detail. These instruments transmit short trains of 1.5- to 10-megahertz sound. Echoes reflected from tissue are converted to electrical signals, which are presented on a display device to outline the contour of tissues and organs within the body. The physical resolution of the system is dependent on several design factors in addition to the transmitted sound frequencies. A resolution volume of approximately 1.5 by 3 by 4 millimeters is achieved optimally with commercially available systems operating at 2.25 megahertz. The various instrument designs are described in the context of clinical usage. Because the sound is diffracted, refracted, and reflected, tghe imaging considerations are different from those of x-ray imaging. Diagnostic devices based on the Doppler principle are distinguished from pulsed-reflected ultrasonic instruments.