Siemens plans to further develop Sensant’s Capacitive Microfabricated Ultrasound Transducer (CMUT) technology, and commercialise transducers based upon it.
The CMUT transducers themselves are built on silicon wafers using IC fabrication processes. They resemble miniature “drum heads” (so small that seven are equivalent to the cross sectional size of a single strand of human hair) and operate as both an ultrasonic speaker and microphone.
Siemens believes that when the Sensant transducers become commercially available in two to three years time, it will be able to use them to build a cost-effective volumetric 4D imaging system.
In such an imaging system, an electrical signal would be sent to the drum heads creating an electrostatic force on their membranes causing them to vibrate and emit ultrasound. The echoes returning from the body’s tissue would then cause the drums’ membranes to vibrate, producing electrical signals that the system would then use to create a visual image.
Siemens did not disclose the price of the acquisition.