Nav: Home

Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

January 15, 2019

A new and extremely sensitive method of measuring ultrasound could revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Researchers at The University of Queensland have combined modern nanofabrication* and nanophotonics* techniques to build the ultraprecise ultrasound sensors on a silicon chip.

Professor Warwick Bowen, from UQ's Precision Sensing Initiative and the Australian Centre for Engineered Quantum Systems, said the development could usher in a host of exciting new technologies.

"This is a major step forward, since accurate ultrasound measurement is critical for a range of applications," he said.

"Ultrasound is used for medical ultrasound, often to examine pregnant women, as well as for high resolution biomedical imaging to detect tumours and other anomalies.

"It's also commonly used for spatial applications, like in the sonar imaging of underwater objects or in the navigation of unmanned aerial vehicles.

"Improving these applications requires smaller, higher precision sensors and, with this new technique, that's exactly what we've been able to develop."

The technology is so sensitive that it can hear, for the first time, the miniscule random forces from surrounding air molecules.

"We've developed a near perfect ultrasound detector, hitting the limits of what the technology is capable of achieving," Professor Bowen said.

"We're now able to measure ultrasound waves that apply tiny forces - comparable to the gravitational force on a virus - and we can do this with sensors smaller than a millimetre across."

Research leader Dr Sahar Basiri-Esfahani, now at Swansea University, said the accuracy of the technology could change how scientists understand biology.

"We'll soon have the ability to listen to the sound emitted by living bacteria and cells," she said.

"This could fundamentally improve our understanding of how these small biological systems function.

"A deeper understanding of these biological systems may lead to new treatments, so we're looking forward to seeing what future applications emerge."
-end-
The research, supported by the Australian Research Council, the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, the Welsh Government, and the United States Air Force Office of Scientific Research, is published in Nature Communications (DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-08038-4).

*Nanofabrication is the design and manufacture of devices with dimensions measured in nanometres. One nanometer is 10 -9 metre, or a millionth of a millimetre. Nanophotonics or nano-optics is the study of the behaviour of light on the nanometre scale, and of the interaction of nanometre-scale objects with light. It is a branch of optics, optical engineering, electrical engineering, and nanotechnology.

University of Queensland

Related Ultrasound Articles:

Ultrasound aligns living cells in bioprinted tissues
Researchers have developed a technique to improve the characteristics of engineered tissues by using ultrasound to align living cells during the biofabrication process.
Ultrasound for thrombosis prevention
Researchers established real-time ultrasonic monitoring of the blood's aggregate state using the in vitro blood flow model.
Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech
A new, more sensitive method to measure ultrasound may revolutionize everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.
Shoulder 'brightness' on ultrasound may be a sign of diabetes
A shoulder muscle that appears unusually bright on ultrasound may be a warning sign of diabetes, according to a new study.
Ultrasound-firewall for mobile phones
Mobile phones and tablets through so-called audio tracking, can be used by means of ultrasound to unnoticeably track the behaviour of their users: for example, viewing certain videos or staying in specific rooms and places.
Designing a new material for improved ultrasound
Development of a theoretical basis for ultrahigh piezoelectricity in ferroelectric materials led to a new material with twice the piezo response of any existing commercial ferroelectric ceramics, according to an international team of researchers from Penn State, China and Australia.
Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected
Lead magnesium niobate (PMN) is a prototypical
American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) takes steps to improve the quality of ultrasound imaging in obstetrics and gynecology
The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) convened a forum tasked with developing a roadmap for quality improvement in ultrasound imaging in obstetrics and gynecology and set up a task force to establish a consensus curriculum and competency assessment tools for residency training.
Augmented tongue ultrasound for speech therapy
Researchers have developed a system that can display the movements of our own tongues in real time.
Ultrasound imaging of the brain and liver
Ultrasound is commonly used in diagnostic imaging of the body's soft tissues, including muscles, joints, tendons and internal organs.
More Ultrasound News and Ultrasound Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Risk
Why do we revere risk-takers, even when their actions terrify us? Why are some better at taking risks than others? This hour, TED speakers explore the alluring, dangerous, and calculated sides of risk. Guests include professional rock climber Alex Honnold, economist Mariana Mazzucato, psychology researcher Kashfia Rahman, structural engineer and bridge designer Ian Firth, and risk intelligence expert Dylan Evans.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#541 Wayfinding
These days when we want to know where we are or how to get where we want to go, most of us will pull out a smart phone with a built-in GPS and map app. Some of us old timers might still use an old school paper map from time to time. But we didn't always used to lean so heavily on maps and technology, and in some remote places of the world some people still navigate and wayfind their way without the aid of these tools... and in some cases do better without them. This week, host Rachelle Saunders...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.