A team of researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen have developed the world’s smallest ultrasound detector.
A team of researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen have developed the world’s smallest ultrasound detector, the silicon waveguide-etalon detector, or SWED. The ultrasound detector is 100 times smaller than an average human hair and can visualize features that are much smaller than previously possible. Researchers developed the device using the silicon photonics technology, which is a departure from the previously used piezoelectric tech.
Researchers have said that the previously used detection technology on piezoelectric detectors would not have been as sensitive as the latest one because if it was miniaturized. However, silicon photonics technology is able to produce high-resolution images as it has the ability to confine light in dimensions smaller than the optical wavelength. The SWED is also up to 200 times smaller than the ultrasound wavelength employed, which means that it can be used to visualize features that are smaller than one micrometer, leading to what is called super-resolution imaging.