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.
- Ultrasound is a safe and proven imaging modality
- 3D ultrasonic images of biological tissue using a single, non-directional source and a single non-directional detector, all in a package sufficiently small to be inserted intravenously
- Insertion of the device into a traumatic wound entry point could yield a rapid, real-time assessment of interior structure damage near the time of injury
- Insertion of the antenna through small incisions could aid the diagnostic tools available in minimally invasive surgical techniques
- US application number 20170059707 available for license
- Potential for collaboration with Navy researchers