New Material Could Improve Ultrasound Technology
An optical signal, represented by the red arrow, comes into contact with the metamaterial and interprets the ultrasound waves, resulting in an altered optical signal that is processed to produce a high-quality image. Image Credit: Texas A&M University.
Ultrasound technology could soon experience a significant upgrade that would enable it to produce high-quality, high-resolution images thanks to the development of a new key material by a team of researchers that includes a professor in Texas A&M University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. The material, which converts ultrasound waves into optical signals that can be used to produce an image, is the result of a collaborative effort by Texas A&M Professor Vladislav Yakovlev and researchers from King’s College London, The Queen’s University of Belfast and the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The engineered material, known as a “metamaterial,” offers significant advantages over conventional ultrasound technology, which generates images by converting ultrasound waves into electrical signals, Yakovlev explains. The material, he notes, consists of golden nanorods embedded in a polymer known as polypyrolle. An optical signal is sent into this material where it interacts with and is altered by incoming ultrasound waves before passing through the material. A detection device would then read the altered optical signal, analyzing the changes in its optical properties to process a higher resolution image.