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Research Abstracts Online
January 2008 - March 2009

University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Institute of Technology
Department of Biomedical Engineering

PI: Shai Ashkenazi

Optoacoustic Sensors

Optoacoustic technology is an emerging alternative for ultrasound imaging. It relies on optical elements for detection and transmission of ultrasound. It is optimal for intravascular imaging where miniaturized, high-resolution probes are required. Optoacoustic technology offers superior bandwidth, higher sensitivity, and smaller element size than the current ultrasound transducer technology. One of the major challenges in this technology is signal connectivity. In principle it is possible to connect multiple elements to a common optical fiber utilizing the large bandwidth of optical transmission.

The main goal of this project is turning this challenge into a major advantage. The researchers are developing a highly compact array of optoacoustic detectors sharing a common optical bus. The array uses slot waveguides for confining electromagnetic waves in a thin air gap. The group is exploring nano-fluidic mechanisms for achieving high ultrasound sensitivity. This technology presents significant advantages for miniaturized ultrasound imaging probes and will provide significant improvements for minimally invasive medical imaging such as intravascular imaging.

Group Members

Caitlin Crandall, Undergraduate Student
Clay Sheaff, Graduate Student