News | Ultrasound Imaging | October 28, 2016

Kolo Medical Introduces New SiliconWave Ultra-High Performance Ultrasound Transducers

Expands suite of next-generation semiconductor transducers designed to provide ultra-high resolution imaging capabilities

October 27, 2016 — Kolo Medical introduced three new SiliconWave ultrasound transducers at the 2016 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) International Ultrasonics Symposium (IUS) in Tours, France, Sept. 18-21. SiliconWave transducers, designed to deliver high performance in the areas of ultra-high resolution imaging, offer the first-ever practical alternative to traditional PZT ultrasound transducers, according to Kolo Medical. 

Compatible with existing and next-generation ultrasound systems, the proprietary SiliconWave transducer technology delivers high performance in the area of ultra-high resolution and ultra-wide bandwidth imaging for such applications as thyroid, breast, small parts, musculoskeletal (MSK), vascular and dermal imaging.

Kolo Medical is working with several OEM partners to test SiliconWave transducers with commercial ultrasound systems. Lauren Pflugrath, CEO of Verasonics, said "We have evaluated Kolo's new 30 MHz CMUT transducer on the Verasonics Vantage high frequency system. The images we have been able to produce of laboratory animals and superficial structures are very impressive. We think this technology will be very interesting to researchers involved with high frequency ultrasound."

The new L38-22 linear array transducer with a center frequency of 30MHz enables high-performance superficial imaging in the emerging application of dermatology and can also be used to image superficial tendons and nerves as well as joints of the wrist, hands and feet.

The M17-4 1.5D array transducer with a 120 percent bandwidth and frequencies from 4-17 MHz is the ultrasound industry's first single-probe solution, according to Kolo Medical. With this frequency range, the M17-4 is able to replace multiple linear array transducers for imaging small parts to deep vascular applications.  The new transducer is based on the Kolo SiliconMatrix technology.

The new L30-14 linear array transducer can be used for neonatal, pediatric and MSK applications. The L30-14 transducer has a center frequency of 22 MHz. 

In addition, Kolo showcased two improved SiliconWave transducers:

The L22-8 linear array transducer is designed for MSK and small parts imaging. Centered at 15MHz, this transducer has improved spatial resolution with excellent penetration when compared with PZT transducers. The L15-5 linear array transducer, with a center frequency of 10MHz, is designed for vascular, small parts and deep MSK imaging.

These transducer arrays resemble tiny silicon drums, each smaller than the width of a human hair, that are fabricated on a silicon wafer and incorporated into the transducer, giving superior acoustic response that forms the basis for better ultrasound images. The technology used in SiliconWave transducers overcomes the fabrication limitations of bulk piezoelectric transducers. High-frequency, high-resolution transducers are potentially easier to fabricate with SiliconWave technology, making ultrasound available for a wider range of applications.

The development of CMUT technology was initiated many years ago by a team at Stanford University that included the Kolo Medical founders.  SiliconWave transducers offer designs that overcome many initial CMUT limitations such as sensitivity. The transducers are fabricated in a commercial MEMS foundry, leveraging advanced semiconductor fabrication technology such as photolithography and thin-film deposition and etching. With the ability to control the vertical geometries of the transducer, such as thin-film thickness with nanometer accuracy, Kolo attains sub-micrometer lateral resolution with ease. 

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