An experimental protocol for assessing the performance of new ultrasound probes based on CMUT technology in application to Brain imaging

Giulia Matrone, Alessandro Ramalli, Alessandro Stuart Savoia, Fabio Quaglia, Gloria Castellazzi, Patrizia Morbini, Marco Piastra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The possibility to perform an early and repeatable assessment of imaging performance is fundamental in the design and development process of new ultrasound (US) probes. Particularly, a more realistic analysis with application-specific imaging targets can be extremely valuable to assess the expected performance of US probes in their potential clinical field of application. The experimental protocol presented in this work was purposely designed to provide an application-specific assessment procedure for newlydeveloped US probe prototypes based on Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducer (CMUT) technology in relation to brain imaging. The protocol combines the use of a bovine brain fixed in formalin as the imaging target, which ensures both realism and repeatability of the described procedures, and of neuronavigation techniques borrowed from neurosurgery. The US probe is in fact connected to a motion tracking system which acquires position data and enables the superposition of US images to reference Magnetic Resonance (MR) images of the brain. This provides a means for human experts to perform a visual qualitative assessment of the US probe imaging performance and to compare acquisitions made with different probes. Moreover, the protocol relies on the use of a complete and open research and development system for US image acquisition, i.e. the Ultrasound Advanced Open Platform (ULA-OP) scanner. The manuscript describes in detail the instruments and procedures involved in the protocol, in particular for the calibration, image acquisition and registration of US and MR images. The obtained results prove the effectiveness of the overall protocol presented, which is entirely open (within the limits of the instrumentation involved), repeatable, and covers the entire set of acquisition and processing activities for US images.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere55798
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number127
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2017


  • 3D ultrasound imaging
  • Bioengineering
  • Bovine
  • Brain
  • CMUT
  • Image registration
  • Issue 127
  • Motion tracking system
  • MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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