Healthcare and Medical Diagnostics

Ultrasound is a simple, non invasive and accessible imaging technique that allows the evaluation of the musculoskeletal system in real time, with the advantage of examining the joints in a dynamic way. The technique is based on the principle of analyzing the echo from a transmitting sound wave. Typical used frequencies are in the low MHz range. Most commercially available ultrasound systems have a limited number of transducer elements inside the ultrasound probe. There is usually a one to one correspondence between each element and the system channel located inside the console. This limits the maximum number of channels to few hundreds organized in rows. Imaging 3D objects has been successfully achieved by mechanical tilting of the aperture when the object moves slowly. In application where 3D objects moving fast have to be imaged, such as cardiology, it is believed the row of elements should be replaced by a matrix. But electronics must be moved from the console into the probe – handle. Application specific integrated circuits consuming low power become key components of the system. In this framework, the lab is active in the design of transceivers enabling future 3D/4D systems. This involves design of high dynamic range receivers as well as transmitting amplifiers able to handle voltage signal as large as 200V to drive transducers, requiring dedicated technologies.