Improving photoacoustic imaging in low signal-to-noise ratio by using spatial and polarity coherence
To suppress the noise and sidelobe of photoacoustic images, a method is proposed combined with spatial coherence and polarity coherence. In this method, PA signals are delayed, multiplied, then performed polarity coherence, and finally summed. The polarity of delayed-and-multiplied signals rather than the amplitude is considered in polarity coherence operation. The polarity coherence factor is calculated based on the standard deviation of the polarity. Then, the factor as weights is applied to the coherent sum output after spatial autocorrelation to finally obtain the image. The simulated and experimental results prove that the noise level can be effectively suppressed due to its relatively low polarity coherence factor. Compared with the delay-and-sum method, the quantitative results in simulations show that the image contrast and full-width at half-maximum of the proposed method increase by about 227.0 % and 56.5 % when the signal-to-noise ratio of the raw signal is 0 dB, respectively. Besides achieving a better image contrast, this method obtains improvements in sidelobe attenuation and has a narrow main lobe.