Transducer Engineering

The acoustic transducer of an ultrasound measurement system converts the electrical signals from the system into the acoustic wave and vice versa. The acoustic wave is used to collect the desired information from the medium or body (e. g., the distance to an object or changes in tissue or in materials). It is the front end of the measurement system in contact to the object or media of interest and with this an important, performance-determining part of the measurement chain. As it is in direct contact with the measurement object or the medium, it is also exposed to the environmental conditions at the measurement location and, as well as the necessary acoustic properties, also has to fulfil all of the requirements in terms of pressure, temperature, resistance to media, vibrations or shock. In addition to this, there are requirements in terms of space, design or appearance. Such a wide range of special requirements can generally only be fulfilled with an application-specific product development.

This is why we offer services for the new development or optimization of specialized sensors or actuators. This includes, for example, the specification and design of transducer systems, prototype construction, electric and acoustic validation as well as load and endurance tests. Our developments are already on the market in a wide range of products in the fields of medicine, industry or sonar applications. The frequency range in which we offer solutions knows almost no limits. It begins at low frequency at 20 kHz for cleaning or sonar applications, and ends at very high frequency at 1 GHz with sensors for applications in ultrasound microscopes. Other examples for possible sensors include:

  • medical phased, linear or curved arrays
  • matrix arrays for volumetric diagnostics
  • therapeutic and combined diagnostic/therapeutic sensors
  • catheter-based single-element transducers and arrays
  • sensors for flow measurement in gases and fluids (e. g. also clamp-on)
  • level or distance sensors (e. g. level metering in a tank, parking assistance)
  • echosounders, sidescan sonar systems
  • volumetric sonar sensors (based on Mills-Cross technology or full-matrix arrays)
  • special solutions for sonar-based object recognition (active/passive)

We work in close cooperation with the other development groups of the main department of Ultrasound and offer the entire development process from the idea to the product. Thanks to our long years of experience, our effective processes and excellent technical equipment, we can realize lean developments with short time-to-market.

Group Offers

sorted by business area

 

Biomedical Ultrasound

Diagnostic Probes

Today, ultrasound is one of the most important diagnostic methods in medicine. Ultrasound is invasive, quickly deployable, safe and furthermore affordable.

We offer the development of customized probes for the optimized visualization of regions of interest for out of body or catheter based examinations.

 

Biomedical Ultrasound

Very High Frequency Transducers

Transducers in the frequency range of 100 MHz up to 1 GHz are primarily used in biomedical research for low penetration applications. 

Integrated lenses for focusing of the acoustic waves enable focus spots with diameters of a few micrometers for acoustic microscopy.

Biomedical Ultrasound

High Frequency Ultrasound Arrays

High frequency ultrasound arrays in the medical field offer the advantage of an electronic focusing and beam steering. Above the standard medical range, typical high frequency applications range up to 50 MHz.

Increasing the frequency above 100 MHz for medical applications does normally not make sense, since the penetration depth in tissue is less than 2 mm

 

Biomedical Ultrasound

Therapeutic Probes

When high power ultrasound is applied, the transferred energy leads to a local heating of tissue. A small dose results in slight stimuli, while a high dose of ultrasound is able to destroy harmful tissue in a targeted way.

Fraunhofer IBMT develops special therapeutic transducers. These can also be combined with diagnostic probes to control the process of stimulation or therapy. 

 

Biomedical Ultrasound

Matrix Probes

For volumetric measurements with ultrasound different probes can be used. Matrix-probes consist of a chessboard like arrangement of transducer elements. 

With this a probe of 32x32 elements has 1024 single addressable ultrasound transducers. The sound beam can be fully controlled and effectively used in diagnostic examinations.

Biomedical Ultrasound

MR Compatible Ultrasound Probes

The combination of ultrasound and alternative measurement modalities like magnet resonance imaging can offer additional advantages. 

IBMT offers the development of special adhesive probes, which can be used in the MR tomograph directly on the patient’s body. Both imaging modalities can be used without mutual interference.

 

Biomedical Ultrasound

Opto-Acoustic Probes

In opto-acoustics the region of interest is not scanned by ultrasound but broadly illuminated with a pulsed laser. The tissue absorbs the light and thermal expansion initiates sound waves.

These waves can be received by an ultrasound diagnostic probe. The resulting image of light absorption enables to draw conclusions about the biologic tissue.

Technical Ultrasound

Airborne Ultrasonic Transducers

To measure distances and flow in gases or to characterize surfaces of objects needs special ultrasound transducers adapted to the low impedance of gases.

Transducer with sensitive and broadband transfer characteristic at reasonable cost normally require an application specific development.

 

Technical Ultrasound

Industrial Sensors

Ultrasound is widely used for industrial measurements. The best possible interaction between transducer, coupling media and measurement object under given environmental conditions (e.g. pressure, temperature, propagation media) is a prerequisite for high quality and safe signal analysis.

Technical Ultrasound

Wetted and Contact Transducers

Wetted and contact transducer form a special group of industrial transducers because they are in direct contact with the propagation medium or object. They do not only experience the environmental conditions like pressure and temperature but also need to have the media and abrasion resistance of an industrial environment

Technical Ultrasound

Power Ultrasound

Applications of ultrasound in which high acoustic power is transferred into a medium are so called ultrasonic power applications.

We offer the full range of development services and manufacturing technologies of highly efficient resonant systems for a broad range of applications.

 

Technical Ultrasound

Matrix Arrays

Matrix arrays allow to steer and focus the sound beam within the investigation volume by electronically controlling the excitation and analysis of the chessboard like arranged ultrasound transducers.

Serial qualification or the inspection of mov-ing parts require very short test times. IBMT develops customized matrix arrays for highest accuracy and short test times.n.

 

Sonar

Sonar Antenna

Sonar systems were the first technical applications of ultrasound transducers. Imaging of surfaces underwater requires complex antennas. 

With their help, it is possible to reconstruct objects or areas with a high resolution. It is possible to create detailed maps of the sea floor, to examine the safety of fairways or to monitor changes of technical structures.

 

Sonar

Matrix Antenna

The imaging of 3-dimensional surfaces underwater is an important challenge. Chess board like arrangements of ultrasound transducers allows the control of a sound beam in a volume and with this the view on an object from different directions (e.g. while passing by). Therefore, it is possible to better reconstruct the true shape of structures and to survey changes.

 

Sonar

Sonar Sensors

For the measurement of the water depth or distances echo sounders with a single transducer element normally are used.

Such transducers need to have a variety of features: They need to withstand high pressures and a high resistance against fouling as they are mostly permanently underwater.

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We offer bachelor and master thesis, internships and practical semester work for students.

Contact Press / Media

Kerstin Knobe

Secretary

Fraunhofer-Institut für Biomedizinische Technik IBMT
Ensheimer Straße 48
66386 St. Ingbert

Phone +49 6897 9071-301

Fax +49 6897 9071-302