Description:
Background
This invention embodies miniaturized ultrasonic transducers that can be implanted in a body (human, animal, unknown species, etc) and help treat tissue, cells, organs or other body parts. The ultrasonic transducers generate ultrasound waves that are absorbed and converted into heat. Depending on the intensity of the waves, it can heat regions of the body or even ablate targeted regions. This is commonly known as ultrasound therapy and has been achieved in the past with bulky focused ultrasound transducers from outside the body. This past technology is invasive for patients and cannot be used for continuous treatment or monitoring outside the hospital and clinical facilities. This invention has the advantage of being miniaturized and bio-compatible and is easily implanted into the body.
 
Technology Overview
This invention embodies miniaturized implantable arrays of Piezoelectric Micro-machined Ultrasonic Transducers (pMUTs). Each device is a micro-fabricated membrane on top of a cavity. The piezoelectric can be activated from one layer of metal as well (both electrodes on the same metal).
First, when applying a voltage between two different electrodes, the membrane will start pushing against the walls of the cavity.
Second, when designing multiple membranes/pMUTs in an array, the ultrasonic waves generated by each element will start to combine. Depending on the relative phase shift of the waves at each point in space, the waves could add up (constructive interference) or subtract (destructive interference).
Third, when placing an object, tissue, organ, cell, etc., in front of a pMUT array, part of the ultrasonic energy will be absorbed and transformed into heat. If those objects, tissues, organs, cells, etc., are placed at a focal point (either the natural focal point or the phased-array/beam-formed one), this heating effect will be maximized.
 
Benefits
- First implantable platform 
- This device has a re-configurable focal point
- Real-time use of the device
- Low cost
 
Applications
- Tissue (or organ parts) heating
- Tissue (or organ parts) ablation
- Acoustic communication link for external commands and feedback data
- Real-time monitoring and ultrasonic scan of the tissue (or organ part) that has been heated/ablated
 
Opportunity
- License
- Partnering
- Research collaboration
Patent Information:
Category(s):
Imaging
For Information, Contact:
Mark Saulich
Associate Director of Commercialization
Northeastern University
m.saulich@northeastern.edu
Inventors:
Flavius Pop
Bernard Herrera
Matteo Rinaldi
Keywords:
Bio-heating
Implantable
Phased-Array
pMUT-array
Ultrasonic