Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Ultrasound Pulser For Developing High-Quality Portable Scanners

By Sharad Bhowmick

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Handheld scanners have changed imaging in the medical industry and in industrial setups. The newer scanners can deliver high-quality images which were previously only possible by large and expensive systems. To further enhance the image quality and shrink form factor of handheld scanners, STMicroelectronics has released STHVUP64, a highly integrated 64-channel ultrasound transmitter.

The latest scanners available in the market are almost the size of a smartphone yet deliver image quality comparable to large and expensive high-end systems from only a few years ago. With 64 channels, the STHVUP64 delivers a highly integrated solution aimed at the handheld, wireless scanner segment. It can drive up to 256 probe elements directly, eliminating expensive, high-voltage switches usually needed between the transmitter and probe. The STHVUP64 transmitter adds extra flexibility and a digital beam steering feature thus enabling extra space-saving for the designers. Moreover, it can help designers reduce the BoM and save time while designing.

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According to the company, integrating the logic on-chip digital beam steering has been made possible, which enhances directional control by permitting greater precision than conventional analog steering using delay circuits. This method saves PCB space and routing complexity, as well as bypassing FPGA-design challenges.

STHVU64 offers multiple built-in features such as noise blocking, thermal protection, under-voltage protection, and recirculating current protection. The transmitter incorporates a self-biased driver architecture that eliminates any need for the power-supply decoupling capacitors that are typically placed outside the chip. There is also a diagnostic register that allows reading the causes of interrupts directly to ease debugging in the event of a malfunction. There is on-chip memory for storing transmission patterns, and synchronization is possible using a clock signal up to 200MHz to enhance image quality by minimizing jitter.

Features of STHVU64

    • 0 to 200 V output signal peak-to-peak
    • Gate drivers have self-biased architecture, and no filtering capacitors are required
    • Auxiliary integrated circuitsNoise blocking diodesThermal protectionUndervoltage protection and bias supply checks
    • Programmable power management to optimize the performances in case of ultra-portable applications

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