Ultrasound probe: A non-ionizing way to monitor and diagnose internal body organs

Woman receiving ultrasound on back

Ultrasound is an imaging technology that uses high-frequency sound waves to characterize body tissues.

It is a useful and flexible modality in medical imaging, and it often provides an additional or unique characterization of tissues. Ultrasound is a safe, ionization-free, clinically efficient, and widely used diagnostic imaging modality. Commercially available, high-quality handheld systems permit routine bedside scanning — bringing the ultrasound machine to every patient. Such portable ultrasound systems also improve patient access to safe, non-invasive diagnostic imaging in venues such as rural health clinics, private offices, and community clinics.

Ultrasound is a non-invasive medical imaging technique used for diagnostic purposes by visualizing muscles, tendons, pathological lesions, internal organs, and other structures. It plays an important role during prenatal care and is commonly used as a diagnostic tool. There is a direct relationship between ultrasound frequency, wavelength, penetration depth, and local temperature. Each parameter cumulatively plays a role in defining whether to use ultrasound as a tool for diagnostics or therapeutics. In this application brief, we are mainly focused on the engineering aspects of the ultrasound probe and its hardware.

Types of Ultrasound Transducers

There are typically four types of ultrasound transducer systems available:

  • Linear
  • Curvilinear
  • Phased array
  • Other types

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