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Two-dimensional acoustic imaging arrays

Objective



Acoustic imaging is an important tool for medical,
underwater and non destructive testing applications but
its true potential cannot be realised with existing
technologies. Currently available systems depend on
single element transducers or at best a linear array,
both of which have to be scanned mechanically and the
resulting two dimensional (2D) image visually
interpreted. What is required is improved quality 2D
images with the ultimate goal of real time 3D images,
from a device which can be electronically steered and
focused. This can only be achieved by using a 2D
pixelated array. This project aims to develop such an
array comprising a novel, manufacturable, fully two
dimensional pixelated array of transmitters and receivers
a Two dimensional Acoustic Imaging Array (TAIA).

For medical imaging, improved quality real time 2D images
and ultimately 3D images of living organs would allow
acoustic imaging to further replace invasive or more
harmful non invasive techniques (e.g. X ray) and remove
the subjective interpretation necessary on a mechanical
scan. Image processing could then be used to focus,
rotate and zoom on the object organ. For underwater
imaging, real time images for investigative diving,
remote operated vehicles (ROVs) and in situ monitoring
are increasingly required and not available from current
technology. Acoustic imaging for non destructive testing
is a powerful tool for monitoring structures but is
currently limited by poor quality imaging.

The 2D array developed in this programme will use novel
materials technology and the design will be flexible
enough for all three applications with a range of sizes
and frequencies. The final deliverable will be a 64 x 64
element array complete with backing material, matching
layers and interconnects and will be suitable for both
transmit and receive operations. This deliverable will be
developed by way of smaller prototype arrays (8x8).

The array will be demonstrated in two ways. The first low
risk route will use modifications of existing medical and
underwater imaging systems, using a sparse array
principle. This reduces the operating complexity and
image processing required and ensures an early
demonstration of principle. The second will aim at
demonstrating the potential of the full array. A minimum
level of image processing will be developed to register
the image and reduce noise. Only a 2D image will be
produced at this stage, but the system will have the
potential for extension to a full 3D image and to satisfy
the significantly different requirements of the three
target application areas.

Coordinator

MARCONI OPTICAL COMPONENTS LIMITED
Address
Caswell
NN12 8EQ Towcester
United Kingdom

Participants (3)

Esaote SpA
Italy
Address
Via Siffredi 58
16153 Genova
GROUPEMENT D'INTERÊT PUBLIC "ULTRASONS"
France
Address
Boulevard Tonnellé 2 Bis, Faculté De Médecine
37032 Tours
UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
United Kingdom
Address
Sackville Street
Manchester