The angular spectrum approach is evaluated for the simulation of focused ultrasound fields produced by large thermal therapy arrays. For an input pressure or normal particle velocity distribution in a plane, the angular spectrum approach rapidly computes the output pressure field in a three dimensional volume. To determine the optimal combination of simulation parameters for angular spectrum calculations, the effect of the size, location, and the numerical accuracy of the input plane on the computed output pressure is evaluated. Simulation results demonstrate that angular spectrum calculations performed with an input pressure plane are more accurate than calculations with an input velocity plane. Results also indicate that when the input pressure plane is slightly larger than the array aperture and is located approximately one wavelength from the array, angular spectrum simulations have very small numerical errors for two dimensional planar arrays. Furthermore, the root mean squared error from angular spectrum simulations asymptotically approaches a nonzero lower limit as the error in the input plane decreases. Overall, the angular spectrum approach is an accurate and robust method for thermal therapy simulations of large ultrasound phased arrays when the input pressure plane is computed with the fast nearfield method and an optimal combination of input parameters.
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