Improving Ultrasound Imaging Systems by Directing Sound Waves

Phil Kinnane | June 29, 2012

In an earlier blog post, I commented on how acoustic waves are being used in a biomedical setting, to identify malaria in small fluid samples. A more traditional use of piezoelectric devices was written about in the latest COMSOL News. Here, an Italian company, Esaote S.p.A., uses them to produce improved ultrasound imaging systems.

Ultrasound Imaging Systems improved by directing acoustic waves
Adjusting the lens in the ultrasound transducer allows for the acoustic waves to be directed.

Understanding Material Properties using Multiphysics Modeling

Developing ultrasound transducers involve specialized materials sourced from specific manufacturers. These manufacturers are unable to provide Esaote with the acoustic properties of the probes they supply at the level of detail that is necessary for production of the transducers. Therefore, Lorenzo Spicci and Marco Cati of Esaote create models of these transducers using COMSOL Multiphysics in order to look at the impact of the materials, and provide feedback to the device manufacturers. What I thought was cool is how they can adjust the operating conditions of the piezoelectric device to direct the acoustic waves, as the image above shows. This is what makes such devices useful to the researchers mentioned in the previous blog post on very small phenomena requiring great accuracy.

You can read the COMSOL News story here, while a model example of a piezoacoustic transducer can be downloaded here.

Upcoming Acoustics Training Opportunities

Acoustics and Vibrations Analysis on July 26th in Houston, TX
Acoustics Simulations with COMSOL Multiphysics on September 5th in Stockholm, Sweden

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