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Researchers Design Transparent Ultrasound Transducer to Enhance Biomedical Imaging Technology

Written by : Nikita Saha

March 12, 2024

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Traditional transducers use opaque layers, which compromise both optical and ultrasound performance. While the TUT boasts exceptional optical transparency of over 80%

Researchers from the Department of Convergence IT Engineering, at Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), South Korea have developed a novel transparent ultrasonic transducer (TUT) to revolutionize biomedical imaging technology.

The newly developed TUT seeks to enhance diagnostic accuracy in medical imaging. By being transparent, it overcomes a critical limitation faced by conventional ultrasound transducers.

This technology offers transparency which allows for noninvasive imaging of the bladder thereby helping in early detection of bladder cancer. Researchers focus on a specific biomarker called mePENK for accurate diagnosis.

Moreover, during tumor removal, the TUT aids surgeons by providing precise imaging. After surgery or treatment, the TUT also helps evaluate remaining tissue.

How does it help in Medical Imaging

Traditional transducers use opaque layers, which compromise both optical and ultrasound performance. While the TUT boasts exceptional optical transparency of over 80%.

Further, it maintains the same bandwidth as traditional opaque ultrasound transducers (±30% at the center frequency).

Using the novel TUT in the ultrasound-photoacoustic dual-modal system resulted in depth-to-resolution ratios, surpassing 500 for ultrasound imaging and 370 for photoacoustic imaging.

This imaging system also easily conducted intricate structural and functional imaging of live animals and humans.

Further, the application of this technology extends across various medical devices, encompassing tasks such as using light stimulation for cell manipulation, employing laser surgery for tumor removal, and employing ultrasound for the examination of residual tissue.

How Does it Work?

The TUT integrates seamlessly into light pathways. Its transparency enables efficient transmission of both ultrasound waves and light.

When used for imaging, the TUT emits ultrasound waves into the body. It also detects the resulting photoacoustic signals generated by tissue absorption of laser light.

By combining these two modalities, clinicians can visualize anatomical structures and functional information simultaneously.

Reportedly, the TUT’s depth-to-resolution ratios are impressive, allowing detailed imaging of live animals and humans.

While the TUT is not yet commercially available, its potential impact is reportedly significant.

Researchers are actively working on larger-scale clinical trials to validate its performance. Once proven effective, it could become a valuable tool in hospitals and clinics globally.

Latest Developments in Medical Imaging

In a similar development, recently, researchers from the USA’s Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology developed an AI model that can accurately identify tumors and diseases with visual maps.

This model offers an advanced level of transparency by explaining each diagnosis with a visual map, allowing doctors to easily follow its line of reasoning, double-check for accuracy, and explain the results to patients.

Days back, Calyx, a technology-enabled service provider for medical imaging merged with Invicro, a next-generation quantitative imaging biomarker company. This collaboration aims to establish a new global leader in medical imaging solutions and development services for the clinical research community.

In another development in the medical imaging space, Stratasys, a polymer 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions specialist, teamed up with Siemens Healthineers to embark on a research project aimed at revolutionizing medical imaging phantoms for computed tomography (CT).

The collaborative effort seeks to develop innovative solutions by leveraging Stratasys' PolyJet technology, RadioMatrix technology, and Siemens Healthineers' advanced algorithms to enhance the accuracy and realism of CT phantoms.


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