Analog Devices hopes to boost portable ultrasound image quality

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Semiconductors provider Analog Devices Inc. believes that the convenience of portability in ultrasound has come at the sacrifice of image quality, limiting the medical diagnoses that can be made. The company believes a new imaging chip it will soon offer will ease this trade-off.

The company’s AD9271 integrates a complete eight-channel (octal) ultrasound receiver on a single chip. This level of integration allows medical equipment designers to reduce the size of the signal path for mobile ultrasound systems by 50 percent and lower power requirements by 25 percent, while achieving noise levels and other performance metrics required in critical care settings.

Specifically, the AD9271 analog front end (AFE) replaces previous multi-chip discrete solutions and their associated requirements for interconnect and package space with a single chip that combines a low-noise amplifier (LNA), a variable-gain amplifier (VGA), an anti-aliasing filter (AAF) and a 12-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC).

"Medical imaging advancements and ADI's signal processing technology have worked hand in hand for many years," said John Hussey, vice president of high seed signal processing. "From multi-slice CT to digital x-ray, our engineers apply their strong system-level understanding to the challenges facing medical electronics designers. This new product highlights our commitment to bring the same dedication to portable medical electronics applications."

The AD9271 ADC will be broadly available in May.