Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a technique that allows ultrasound to penetrate bone or metal, using customized structures that offset the distortion usually caused by these so-called “aberrating layers.”
“We’ve designed complementary metamaterials that will make it easier for medical professionals to use ultrasound for diagnostic or therapeutic applications, such as monitoring blood flow in the brain or to treat brain tumors,” says Tarry Chen Shen, a Ph.D. student at NC State and lead author of a paper on the work. “This has been difficult in the past because the skull distorts the ultrasound’s acoustic field.”
“These metamaterials could also be used in industrial settings,” says Dr. Yun Jing, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State and senior author of the paper. “For example, it would allow you to use ultrasound to detect cracks in airplane wings under the wing’s metal ‘skin.’”
Ultrasound imaging works by emitting high frequency acoustic waves. When those waves bounce off an object, they return to the ultrasound equipment, which translates the waves into an image.
But some materials, such as bone or metal, have physical characteristics that block or distort ultrasound’s acoustic waves. These materials are called aberrating layers.
The researchers addressed this problem by designing customized metamaterial structures that take into account the acoustic properties of the aberrating layer and offsetting them. The metamaterial structure uses a series of membranes and small tubes to achieve the desired acoustic characteristics.
The researchers have tested the technique using computer simulations and are in the process of developing and testing a physical prototype.
In simulations, only 28 percent of ultrasound wave energy makes it past an aberrating layer of bone when the metamaterial structure is not in place. But with the metamaterial structure, the simulation shows that 88 percent of ultrasound wave energy passes through the aberrating layer.
“In effect, it’s as if the aberrating layer isn’t even there,” Jing says.
The technique can be used for ultrasound imaging, as well as therapeutically – such as using ultrasound to apply energy to brain tumors, in order to burn them.
The paper, “An Anisotropic Complementary Acoustic Metamaterial for Cancelling out Aberrating Layers,” is published online in the open access journal Physical Review X. The paper was co-authored by Drs. Jun Xu and Nicholas Fang at MIT. Jing acknowledges financial support from NC Space Grant via a New Investigator award. Xu and Fang acknowledge support from the Office of Naval Research under grant N00014-13-1-0631.
Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.
“An Anisotropic Complementary Acoustic Metamaterial for Cancelling out Aberrating Layers”
Authors: Chen Shen and Yun Jing, North Carolina State University; Jun Xu and Nicholas X. Fang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Published: Nov. 19 in Physical Review X (open access)
Abstract: In this paper, we investigate a type of anisotropic, acoustic complementary metamaterials (CMM) and their application in restoring acoustic fields distorted by aberrating layers. The proposed quasi 2-D, non-resonant CMM consists of unit cells formed by membranes and side branches with open ends. Simultaneously anisotropic and negative density is achieved by assigning membranes facing each direction (x- and y-direction) with different thicknesses while the compressibility is tuned by the side branches. Numerical examples demonstrate that, the CMM, when placed adjacent to a strongly aberrating layer, could acoustically cancel out that aberrating layer. This leads to dramatically reduced acoustic field distortion and enhanced sound transmission, therefore virtually removing the layer in a noninvasive manner. In the example where a focused beam is studied, using the CMM, the acoustic intensity at the focus is increased from 28% to 88% of the intensity in the control case (without the aberrating layer and the CMM). The proposed acoustic CMM has a wide realm of potential applications, such as cloaking, all angle anti-reflection layers, ultrasound imaging, detection and treatment through aberrating layers.
Matt Shipman | EurekAlert!
UCLA engineers use deep learning to reconstruct holograms and improve optical microscopy
22.11.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles
First transcatheter implant for diastolic heart failure successful
16.11.2017 | The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
23.11.2017 | Information Technology
23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.11.2017 | Life Sciences