Texas Instruments recently introduced a new line of analog front ends, devices that absorb analog signals, convert them to digital, and do basic processing, that are specifically designed for the next generation of portable ultrasounds. The electronic components have been made so small and power efficient, that practical ultrasound devices the size of smart phones could soon very well be in every physician’s pocket.
The newest members of TI’s AFE family for medical ultrasound, the industry-first 16-channel AFE5851 and the 8-channel AFE5801 bring breakthrough power efficiency and smaller footprint to support the new market for handheld ultrasound systems that can fit in a doctor’s pocket (see www.ti.com/afe5801-pr).
New uses of electronic medical devices and emerging economies are driving the need for innovative, handheld ultrasound systems. Doctors in remote regions and medical technicians in first responder situations need a non-invasive tool for accurate, on-site diagnosis. By carrying a system at all times, doctors can also use ultrasound for new application areas, such as diagnosis of cardiac conditions.
The new AFE5851 features 39 mW/channel at 32.5 MSPS and integrates 16 variable gain amplifiers (VGAs) and eight 12-bit, 65-MSPS analog to digital converters (ADCs). The ADC is shared between two VGAs and each VGA differential output is sampled at alternate clock cycles to optimize power efficiency. The ADC has scalable power consumption to further lower power use with lower sampling rates. The AFE5851’s high channel count and low-power features allow for increased channel density in handheld ultrasound systems.
The second new device, the AFE5801, features 50 mW/channel at 30 MSPS and 58 mW/channel at 50 MSPS and integrates eight VGAs and eight 12-bit, 65 MSPS high-speed ADCs with LVDS data outputs.