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New Ultra-Sensitive Space Saving Optomechanical Ultrasound Sensor on a Silicon Photonic chip

Optomechanical Ultrasound Sensor
Optomechanical Ultrasound Sensor

Imec has announced the optomechanical ultrasound sensor on a silicon photonic chip that has an unprecedented sensitivity due to an innovative optomechanical waveguide. The high sensitivity waveguide of the 20-µm small sensor can detect two orders of magnitudes better than piezoelectric elements of identical size.


Designed based on a highly sensitive split-rib optomechanical waveguide fabricated using new CMOS-compatible processing, the new device can deliver sensitivity in two orders of magnitude larger than a state-of-the-art device. The new sensor has a low detection limit hence it can be used in clinical and biomedical applications of ultrasonic and photoacoustic imaging such as deep-tissue mammography and the study of vascularization or innervation of potential tumorous tissue.


The low detection limit of the device can improve the trade-off between imaging resolution and depth for ultrasound applications, and is crucial for photoacoustic imaging. This may also enable low-pressure applications like through-skull functional brain imaging, which suffers from the strong ultrasound attenuation of bone. The fine-pitched (30 µm) matrix of these tiny (20 µm) sensors can be easily integrated on-chip with photonic multiplexers.


Features of Optomechanical Ultrasound Sensor

  • Unprecedented sensitivity
  • The small size of 20µm
  • Fine-pitched (30 µm) matrix
  • Detect two orders of magnitudes
  • Low detection limit
  • Designed based on a highly sensitive split-rib optomechanical waveguide


Note: More technical information can be found on the research page of optomechanical ultrasound sensors in silicon photonics.

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