Signal Conditioning in the Vantage Research Ultrasound System
The Vantage™ Research Ultrasound System includes a high-performance data acquisition platform that provides multiple transceiver channels, receive signal conditioning electronics, deep local memory and a very rapid data transfer rate to its host computer over PCI-express. This Plane Wave issue will describe the Vantage receive path architecture and the programmable signal conditioning available to its users, and how it is designed to maximize data quality while minimizing the digital data rate.

The fundamental role of the Vantage receive path is to provide high fidelity per-channel digitized RF data from each individual transducer element with no demodulation, beamforming, or other channel-to-channel processing of any kind. All image reconstruction and post-processing tasks are performed in software on the host computer where the user can control all steps of an imaging application. The hardware signal path for each channel includes an analog section with low noise and high dynamic range amplifiers, followed by an anti-aliasing filter and a digitizer. The digital data stream then passes through an FPGA for signal conditioning before storage in local memory until it is transferred by PCIe to the computer. The digital signal conditioning stage includes two programmable filters and two decimators that can be used to improve the signal to noise ratio and lower the data rate while preserving the desired signal information collected during the acquisition.

Next, we will describe the functional blocks of the analog and digital front-end, and point out the many parameters that can be programmed by Vantage user. As always, Verasonics customers may learn more about these features in the Training Videos available on the Verasonics Community website and in the Vantage Sequence Programming Manual.

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