Navy

Ultrasound leaky-wave antenna for high resolution internal imaging

Intravenous ultrasound imaging for interior assessment, surgical or structural monitoring

Medical & Biotechnology

The acoustic leaky-wave antenna (100) uses a frequency dependent angular dispersion relation to simultaneously collect data from multiple angles with a single transducer (102) via a broadband source pulse (104). The antenna includes a waveguide (106) with periodically structured sub-wavelength output acoustic ports or shunts (108).

Ultrasonic imaging is a heavily leveraged diagnostic tool in the medical industry, particularly in the fields of cardiology, obstetrics, surgery, and neurology. However, the current state of the art has several complications that limit the use of ultrasonic imaging as a point-of-care diagnostic tool. Ultrasound procedures are accomplished by using a transducer on the skin and the ultrasound scanning near the surface of the body is capable of resolutions of less than a millimeter. The resolution diminishes with the depth of penetration. Deeper structures are imaged at a low frequency with low resolution. Further, the complexity, power requirements, and external (outside the body) nature of current systems limit the portability of ultrasound devices.

To address the above deficiencies, Navy researchers have developed an ultrasonic imaging system comprising a micro-acoustic source configured to generate a broadband ultrasonic pulse and an acoustic leaky-wave antenna configured to use a frequency dependent angular dispersion to generate and receive an ultrasound signal. The antenna is inserted into the body directly, through a vein or artery, into a wound, or arthroscopically to obtain high resolution images closer to the target.

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