Three-dimensional ultrasound is a very powerful imaging technique, but it requires transducers that accommodate thousands of sensors and complex hardware which restricts its use to specialized clinical applications in developed countries. Manufacturing this type of transducers is complex and very costly. In this project we propose a novel approach that can overcome this limitation and make 3D imaging simply available to any application by making use of a technique called compressive sensing. The main technological idea behind this exciting project is that a simple plastic coding mask is already enough to compress the 3D information in such a way that you need far less sensors. This concept can be applied to extend the imaging capabilities of commercial ultrasound probes from 2D to 3D, but also opens up the possibility for a new type of wearable imaging device for long time monitoring/imaging of various organs such as the brain or the carotid artery. In this project we want to take this concept to a new level that will enable simple 3D ultrasound for a wide range of applications.
For this multidisciplinary research project we are seeking three enthusiastic candidate PhD-students (two at Erasmus MC, one at TU Delft) to take this exciting project from a new idea to actual reality.
Ph.D. 1: The first Ph.D. student will work on compressive imaging devices that can be used to image the human carotid artery for diagnostic purposes. The research will specifically focus on: 1) 3D ultrasound imaging of atherosclerotic plaques using a regular probe and coding mask, 2) long-term monitoring of the pulse-wave velocity and other cardiovascular parameters inside the carotid artery. This work will be carried out under the supervision of Dr. Hans Bosch at the Thoraxcenter Biomedical Engineering Department at Erasmus MC.
Ph.D. 2: The second Ph.D. student will apply this compressive imaging technique to visualize brain activity in small rodents. The student will work in close collaboration with neuroscientists that will use this technique to better understand the brain. The study also includes the development of new methods to image through the skull using ultrasound. This work will be carried out under the supervision of Dr. Pieter Kruizinga at the Department of Neuroscience at Erasmus MC.
Ph.D. 3: The third Ph.D. student will focus his/her research on laying the theoretical foundations for spatial compression of acoustic waves and will develop algorithms that can be used to reconstruct images from compressed ultrasound data. This work will be carried out in the Circuits and Systems group of the Delft University of Technology, in Delft, The Netherlands under the supervision of Prof. Geert Leus.
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