With its structure, starting with theoretical observations in application-specific simulations, transducer development and modular ultrasound systems including innovative software solutions, right up to signal processing, the main department Ultrasound of the Fraunhofer IBMT covers the whole range of competences for system solutions in medical, biotechnological and technical applications.
With more than 40 members of staff in three business areas, and five highly specialized working groups, it is the largest ultrasound research unit in Europe. The competences of the working groups are based on more than 25 years of experience, and allow the development of all ultrasound system components, from materials with specially adapted properties, to application-specific ultrasound transducers, electronic system components and procedures, as well as software development, right up to sensor manufacturing and process development. Services range from consulting and feasibility studies to laboratory prototypes and prototype development, right up to certified product development, certification for clinical applications as well as clinical evaluation. An industrial share in turnover of around 70 % shows the high relevance of the main department for a wide range of partners in industry.
Alongside this structural all-in package, the main department is also active over a broad range of applications. High-frequency ultrasound is used, for example, for scanning, non-invasive characterization and manipulation of objects in the sub-micrometer range such as individual biological cells. In medical and pre-clinical applications, unique ultrasound multichannel systems and high-frequency miniaturized arrays offer new possibilities for high-resolution imaging which are also being used in non-destructive testing. In addition to this, current public projects, for example on the early diagnosis of mammary carcinoma and arthritis, confirm the great application potential of hybrid approaches such as opto-acoustic techniques. In the classical frequency range of medical diagnostics, 2D arrays are becoming established which, in combination with the new modular beam former generation, allow an ultrafast, real-time registration and processing of volume data as well as extended possibilities for use in diagnostics and therapy control. The internal knowledge and technology transfer, and the scalability of the available technologies also led to further developments of technical applications, for example new imaging 3D sonar systems and pressure-tolerant components for use in deep sea applications.
For the customer-specific transfer of our ultrasound technology to other technical and (bio)medical applications, and to ensure the proximity to the user necessary for clinical applications, the main department has strong national and international networks and is a sought-after partner for a wide range of research facilities and industrial consortia.
© Photo Fraunhofer IBMT, Bernd Müller.