Integration of piezo and micromechanical ultrasound transducers with massively parallel MIMO signal analysis |
Ultrasound imaging has transformed diagnosis and management in all areas of clinical medicine. However, current ultrasound imaging has limited spatial resolution (at 2 cm depth ~ 0.5 mm), which is rapidly deteriorating with increasing depth (at 10 cm depth ~ 1-2 mm). Furthermore, the resolution perpendicular to the 2D imaging plane is limited to ~ 2-4 mm, although intervention needles range from 0.3-2 mm in diameter. The imprecise imaging thereby not only reduces the diagnostic yield but increases the risk of mispunctures during interventions. There is thus a clear need for higher imaging precision, with lower artifacts, allowing more precise diagnosis and a risk reduction during interventions.
Development of a hybrid ultrasound imaging system containing piezo- and micromechanical ultrasound transducer for high resolution imaging with a massively MIMO for an improved analysis.
Medical ultrasound; cMUT; piezoelectric transducer; signal-coding; MIMO; Hybrid Echo
Robotic test stand
In the Hybrid Echo project, new types of ultrasonic sensors are being investigated. With the help of the robotic test stand, information can be obtained about the optimal signal shape as well as the optimal arrangement. Thus, a first prototype is to be created in the project.
Medical ultrasound fundamentally changed diagnostics and interventions in all medical fields. Due to its bedside imaging capabilities without the disadvantages of X-rays it became a widespread technology. Although ultrasound has been used in the clinic for many years, the main technology, based on the piezoelectric effect, remains unchanged. New developments in the field of micromechanics, so called capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers (cMUT), are promising additions to increase resolution and diagnostic options of medical ultrasound. Hybrid-Echo makes use of the superior sensing capacities of cMUTs by combining the technology with regular piezo elements. To ensure a good usability, transfer and analyses of the increased data amounts will be based on a wireless data connection (massive MIMO). The resulting system offers multiple applications in the medical field ranging from improved cancer surveillance to reduced risk during sonographic interventions. To achieve this ambitious goal Hybrid-Echo gathered a team of specialists from different disciplines, working on the development of a first prototype.