Acoustic cavitation bubbles are known to enhance the heating effect in high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) treatment. The detection of cavitation bubbles with high sensitivity and selectivity is required to predict the therapeutic and side effects of cavitation, and ensure the efficacy and safety of the treatment. A pulse inversion (PI) technique has been widely used for imaging microbubbles through enhancing the second-harmonic component of echo signals. However, it has difficulty in separating the nonlinear response of microbubbles from that due to nonlinear propagation. In this study, a triplet pulse (3P) method was investigated to specifically image cavitation bubbles by extracting the 1.5th fractional harmonic component. The proposed 3P method depicted cavitation bubbles with a contrast ratio significantly higher than those in conventional imaging methods with and without PI. The results suggest that the 3P method is effective for specifically detecting microbubbles in cavitation-enhanced HIFU treatment.
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