Separable beamforming for 3-D medical ultrasound imaging

Ming Yang, Richard Sampson, Siyuan Wei, Thomas F. Wenisch, Chaitali Chakrabarti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Three-dimensional ultrasound imaging is a promising medical imaging technology because of its ease of use and improved accuracy in diagnosis. However, its high computational complexity and resulting high power consumption has precluded its use in hand-held applications. In this paper, we present a separable beamforming method that greatly reduces computational complexity. Our method is based on decomposing the delay term in a way that minimizes the root-mean-square error caused by the decomposition. We analyze tradeoffs between the approximation error caused by the decomposition and computational complexity. Then, we present enhancements to the Sonic Millip3De hardware accelerator for ultrasound beamforming to implement separable beamforming. Using hardware synthesis targeting standard cells in 45 nm, we show that the proposed method allows us to boost the Sonic Millip3De frame rate from 1-2 Hz to 32 Hz while maintaining power consumption at 15 W. We validate image quality of our method using cyst phantom simulations in Field II. Our evaluation demonstrates that the proposed separable beam-forming method can produce 3-D images with high quality that are comparable to those generated by non-separable beamforming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6960039
Pages (from-to)279-290
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2015


  • 3-D ultrasound
  • Beamforming
  • Decomposition
  • Hardware accelerator
  • Separable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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