AN FBK SENSOR FOR THE ULTRASOUND SCANS OF THE FUTURE
A sensor developed by Fondazione Bruno Kessler in Trento could be a game changer for endoscopic ultrasound scans.
The area of development is that of micromechanical ultrasound sensors, devices small enough to be mounted at the head of a catheter probe, to perform ultrasound scans during endoscopies, therefore from inside the body. This is a long-awaited step in medicine since it could greatly improve the analysis ability using ultrasound, a mature technology that is totally harmless to the patient. Applications include, for example, the possibility of use in catheters that are inserted into blood vessels for cardiac angioplasty procedures.
The test sensor designed by FBK is an effort aimed at achivieng this and is one of the best in its field in Europe. At the moment, its size is a few millimeters, to better enable performance measurement in the experimental phase; future development will include further miniaturization to make the device applicable in the medical field.
The results of the work were recently published in the final white paper of the Horizon 2020 Position II European project in which similar devices designed by major European research and development centers were compared. Each of the project partners – including Philips, IMEC, Fraunhofer, Cea Leti, Analog Devices, Sylex – made their own probes and comparative assessments were made. Fondazione Bruno Kessler participated with a sensor developed thanks to micro-fabrication technologies that have been in development at the Trentino-based research center for about ten years and placed among the best.