A new ultrasound device developed by a research team from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore utilizes a superior 3D printed resin lens to produce sharper and higher fidelity ultrasound images.
Conventional ultrasound devices create ultrasound waves by heating up a glass lens with sound waves, which creates high frequency vibrations from the resulting expansion of the lens. These high frequency vibration in turn produce ultrasound waves. Conventional glass lenses are restricted to cylindrical or conical conformations, which limits the specificity and resolution of ultrasound devices.
The team, lead by Associate Professor Claus-Dieter Ohl from NTU’s School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, has developed a 3D printed lens that overcomes these limitations. The 3D printed resin lens increases fidelity of the images due to the number of complex shapes and structures it can be produced in. The 3D resin lenses will allow newer ultrasound devices to focus waves at multiple sites and even focus on a specific target. These customized 3D printed lenses can be utilized for specific purposes that were not available before to conventional glass lens based ultrasound devices. Furthermore, due to the dramatic decrease in cost of 3D printing, the resin lenses are cheaper and easier to produce.
“3D printing reinvents the manufacturing process, enabling the creation of unique and complex devices. In turn, the way medical devices are created needs to be rethought. This is an exciting discovery for the scientific community as it opens new doors for research and medical surgery,” said Assoc Prof Ohl in a statement.
Clearer images open the door for greater control and precision for surgeries as well as non-invasive procedures. The team is now looking forward and beginning discussion with manufacturers and healthcare partners to plan development of prototypes for medical and research application.
Study in Applied Physics Letters: Laser-generated focused ultrasound for arbitrary waveforms…