Front-End Architecture Design for Low-Complexity 3-D Ultrasound Imaging Based on Synthetic Aperture Sequential Beamforming

Jian Zhou, Sumit K. Mandal, Brendan L. West, Siyuan Wei, Umit Y. Ogras, Oliver D. Kripfgans, J. Brian Fowlkes, Thomas F. Wenisch, Chaitali Chakrabarti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The 3-D ultrasound imaging provides distinct advantages over its 2-D counterpart leading to a more accurate analysis of tumors and cysts. However, the front end of a 3-D system must receive and process data at prodigious rates, making it impractical for power-constrained portable systems. Synthetic aperture sequential beamforming (SASB) is an ultrasound beamforming technique that splits the computation into two stages, such that the computation in Stage 1 can be completed in the power-constrained front end while the remaining computation can be done elsewhere. In this article, we present several algorithmic and architectural techniques to enable efficient computation of Stage 1 processing without compromising imaging quality. Specifically, we present algorithmic techniques that reduce the computational complexity in Stage 1 by $17\times $ through a systematic reduction in the number of apodization coefficients. We propose a 3-D die stacked architecture where the signals received by 961 active transducers are digitized, routed by a network-on-chip, and processed in parallel. This architecture does not require the explicit storage of incoming data samples. We synthesize the architecture using TSMC 28-nm technology node. The front-end power consumption is around 1.5 W, making it suitable for portable applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9257452
Pages (from-to)333-346
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • 3-D ultrasound imaging
  • array processing
  • portable medical device
  • synthetic aperture sequential beamforming (SASB)
  • ultrasound beamforming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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