Cluster-enhanced sparse approximation of overlapping ultrasonic echoes

Etai Mor, Mayer Aladjem, Amnon Azoulay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Ultrasonic pulse-echo methods have been used extensively in non-destructive testing of layered structures. In acoustic measurements on thin layers, the resulting echoes from two successive interfaces overlap in time, making it difficult to assess the individual echo parameters. Over the last decade sparse approximation methods have been extensively used to address this issue. These methods employ a large dictionary of elementary functions (atoms) and attempt to select the smallest subset of atoms (sparsest approximation) that represent the ultrasonic signal accurately. In this paper we propose the cluster-enhanced sparse approximation (CESA) method for estimating overlapping ultrasonic echoes. CESA is specifically adapted to deal with a large number of signals acquired during an ultrasonic scan. It incorporates two principal algorithms. The first is a clustering algorithm, which divides a set of signals comprising an ultrasonic scan into groups of signals that can be approximated by the same set of atoms. The second is a two-stage iterative algorithm, which alternates between update of the atoms associated with each cluster, and re-clustering of the signals according to the updated atoms. Because CESA operates on clusters of signals, it achieves improved results in terms of approximation error and computation time compared with conventional sparse methods, which operate on each signal separately. The superior ability of CESA to approximate highly overlapping ultrasonic echoes is demonstrated through simulation and experiments on adhesively bonded structures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7024985
Pages (from-to)373-386
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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