Here we listed some common questions related to our SiliconWaveTM transducers.
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SiliconWaveTM technology provides a new generation of ultrasound transducers developed by Kolo Medical using a silicon array instead of PZT material. SiliconWaveTM is based on a process of development called Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasound Transducers more commonly known as CMUT technology. By leveraging the mature and powerful semiconductor technology and our industry leading CMUT IP portfolio, SiliconWaveTM transducers become the first practical alternative to PZT transducers.
Although SiliconWaveTM transducers provide equal or better overall imaging and diagnostic performance due to their inherent broad bandwidth when compared with PZT transducers, their greatest advantage is in providing new applications in medical areas and beyond. SiliconWaveTM transducers overcome the limits of current PZT transducer technology relative to device size, cost, yield, ASIC integration, and heat generation.
SiliconWaveTM technology offers a better and more cost-effective method of producing 1.5 and 2D arrays. Compared with PZT, there are almost no limits on the pattern or shape of the multi-dimensional silicon array providing a more customized product for specific applications.
A SiliconWaveTM matrix transducer has the ability to transmit and receive at different frequencies simultaneously unlike a PZT matrix transducer where all elements transmit and receive at the same frequency determined by the thickness of the ceramic. By allowing the outer row of elements to transmit and receive at a lower frequency than the center row of elements, it is now possible to develop a transducer for multiple applications thus truly developing the first One-Probe Solution in ultrasound imaging.
By using advanced semiconductor packaging methods, the silicon array can be combined with Integrated Circuits at the wafer-level in the foundry. This allows the ASICS to be placed directly behind the array to support partial beam-forming in the transducer improving SNR and ultimately the overall image quality.
Increased heat production in a PZT array creates thermal limits in color Doppler imaging resulting in a loss of sensitivity in detecting slow or low flow states. Because a SiliconWaveTM transducer does not produce heat, thermal limits in color Doppler are not reached. This low heat property is also an advantage for use in catheters or other invasive applications such as endoscopic imaging arrays and may be very beneficial in micro-vascularization detection and elastography.
SiliconWaveTM transducers offer unique advantages in ultra-high frequency imaging. By using the semiconductor manufacturing process, the accuracy of maintaining critical geometries with high yield required by ultra-high frequency arrays is achieved. Using this manufacturing method, current transducers with central frequencies of 15MHz, 22MHz, and 30MHz have been developed.
Silicon technology design flexibility and negligible heat production make SiliconWaveTM transducers a better option for catheter and other invasive applications, endoscopic instruments with imaging arrays, and new applications for high frequency imaging for dermatology, rheumatology, MSK, IVUS, ICE and others.
By leveraging semiconductor manufacturing methods for fabrication and packaging and by using MEMS (MicroElectroMechanical Systems) technology, SiliconWaveTM transducer production is not limited by element number, dimension, or array shape. Using advanced MEMS technology, the flexible array is possible. In order to address the needs of existing and new applications such as IVUS, ICE, and some surgical guidance requirements, Kolo engineering has designed a 360° cylindrical array with a diameter of 1mm.
SiliconWaveTM transducers offer plug and play capability. Using the connector specific to your system, Kolo transducers are easily adaptable to most current and future platforms.
The founders of Kolo Medical were part of the early development of CMUT at Stanford University. They realized the challenges of the existing technology, mainly sensitivity and reliability, which limits the commercialization of the CMUT technology. Kolo’s founding members invented the proprietary technology to address the limiting CMUT issues by balancing the electrical field and efficiency in the CMUT. This innovative approach not only overcame the challenges of this technology but Kolo Medical is the only company to offer a line of SiliconWaveTM transducers for commercial use.
The evaluation of a SiliconWaveTM transducer is straightforward. The connector requires a 3-12V voltage supplier for the bias and then the Kolo transducer is plug and play ready like a PZT transducer.
However, it is preferred that both engineering teams work together to ensure the best integration setup, mainly for impedance match, to optimize the clinical imaging performance.
Currently, Kolo is working with several OEM engineering teams not only to properly connect our transducers to their systems but to optimize imaging performance to achieve maximum clinical acceptance.
Over 10,000 per year.
Using CMUT chips with backing to ensure their robustness, all of our SiliconWaveTM transducer designs pass the standard industry drop test.