Next Generation Semiconductor Transducer Technology Offers Ultrasound Manufacturers Practical Alternative to Traditional PZT Transducers
SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Offering the first-ever practical alternative to traditional PZT ultrasound transducers, Kolo Medical announced today that it will introduce SiliconWaveTM, next generation ultrasound transducers based on semiconductor technologies at the 2015 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium (IUS) in Taipei, Taiwan, October 21-24, 2015. Kolo Medical will showcase the first three transducers available to ultrasound manufacturers using SiliconWave transducer technology, designed to deliver an unprecedented level of performance in the areas of ultra-high resolution imaging at the IUS meeting (Booth #11).
Kolo Medical is dedicated to providing a full suite of capacitive microfabricated ultrasonic transducers (CMUTs) for medical ultrasound imaging by leveraging advanced semiconductor technology and the most advanced CMUT technology. Compatible with existing and next generation ultrasound systems, the proprietary SiliconWave transducer technology delivers an unprecedented level of performance in the area of ultra-high resolution and ultra-wide bandwidth imaging for such applications as thyroid, breast, small-parts, muscular-skeleton, and vascular.
Kolo Medical has been collaborating with Verasonics, Inc., the leader in research ultrasound, to refine the final design and performance of one of Kolo Medical’s transducers. According to Lauren Pflugrath, CEO and President of Kirkland, Washington-based Verasonics, “CMUT technology has the potential to set a new standard for transducer performance.”
At the IUS Meeting, Kolo Medical will show the SiliconWave technology and its results in an oral presentation in the CMUT Design Session at 1:00PM on October 22, 2015.
“During the last few decades, every aspect of medical ultrasound systems has been revolutionized by advances in semiconductor technology with the sole exception of the ultrasound transducer,” said Dr. Yongli Huang, President of Kolo Medical. “Kolo Medical’s proprietary CMUT technology eliminates the drawbacks associated with the PZT technology, and our ultra-high performance SiliconWave probes are truly moving ultrasound imaging into the silicon age.”
Traditional ultrasound transducers have been developed from a ceramic material known as PZT. The production of PZT transducers relies on outdated machine-shop manufacturing methods. The hand-built process is complex, creating inefficiencies in many critical areas, i.e. poor yield and uniformity. The intrinsic shortcomings of PZT technology include low bandwidth and heat production, which in turn, impose technological limits to further improvements especially as the industry moves towards high-frequency and 3D/4D imaging.
The CMUTs 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 medical images. Micromachined transducer systems such as CMUTs overcome the fabrication limitations of bulk piezoelectric-based transducers. High-frequency, high-resolution transducers are potentially easier to fabricate with CMUT technology, which could make 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. As the result of Kolo’s years of independent research and development, the SiliconWave transducers of novel designs overcome many initial CMUT limitations, such as in sensitivity. Kolo’s SiliconWave 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. Combining the power of innovative designs and superb fabrication capabilities, the SiliconWave CMUT transducers are proven to reach unprecedented yield, uniformity, and performance standards.
About Kolo Medical Kolo Medical is the world leader in the next generation of semiconductor ultrasound transducer technology. Setting a new performance standard in clinical diagnostic imaging, Kolo Medical is the first company to offer commercially available capacitive micromachined ultrasound transducer (CMUT) technology. Making CMUT a practical alternative to PZT transducers, Kolo Medical is establishing the silicon age of ultrasound imaging. Originally from the research group at Stanford University that invented the CMUT technology, the founders of Kolo Medical have continued to develop and patent the most advanced innovations in this field. The management team is comprised of world-class talent from both the medical ultrasound industry and the semiconductor industry and includes seasoned executives and technology pioneers from top-tier companies known for their extensive experience in developing and commercializing emerging innovative technologies. For more information, visit www.kolomedical.com.
SiliconWave is a trademark of Kolo Medical.