Ultrasound technology is continuously evolving, and it’s not just for systems! OEM’s have also focused on enhancing ultrasound probes to improve workflow, power, performance, and versatility. Some of the updates are to improve the usability and ergonomics of the probe, like adding buttons to the GE L4-12t-RS. In this article, we will focus on what GE and Philips have accomplished to improve ultrasound technology on the inside of the probe by perfecting piezoelectric crystal creation and formations so that you can capture clearer images.
The objective measure of probe performance is bandwidth: the range of frequencies the transducer can transmit and receive. If a transducer has a higher bandwidth, it can cover a broader frequency range. The result: higher sensitivity, resolution, greater performance, and the ability to cover the range of acoustic frequencies that used to require multiple different transducers.
GE manufactured a single piezoelectric crystal (PMN-PT and PZN-PT) to increase bandwidth compared to conventional PZT crystals by carefully creating a cylinder of the single crystal material. GE also developed an Acoustic Amplifier, which is a patented layer that sits between the transducer core structure and the rest of the mechanical housing to extend bandwidth and sensitivity, while simultaneously improving electrical impedance. The third critical improvement by GE is how it utilized the piezoelectric material to generate and transfer ultrasound energy through coupling layers to the body. Heat typically reduces performance and this process reduces heat and inversely increases sensitivity and penetration.
GE’s single piezoelectric crystal that creates its XDClear technology has greater bandwidth and therefore, can perform at a higher sensitivity, resolution, greater performance and range of acoustic frequencies.
xMatrix is Philips’s probe technology that enhances picture clarity and creates a smoother workflow for you to diagnose and treat patients with more confidence. With the touch of a button, xMatrix offers these scanning modes in a single probe:
- Live 3D Echo
- Live xPlane
- Live 3D Zoom
- Live 3D Full Volume
- Live MPR
- Color Doppler
Once the data is acquired, the system captures the X, Y, Z or iSlice MPR cineloops, and with only one touch, the system sends them to your PACS. Therefore, you can view, slice, and interrogate when it’s convenient for you. During your cardiac exams, Live xPlane imaging allows you to acquire two planes simultaneously from the same heartbeat.
Its iRotate innovation electronically rotates to obtain the view within the acoustical window so you aren’t searching for a window that isn’t obscured by the ribs. With the X5-1 probe, iRotate allows you to complete an entire stress echo protocol, including the acquisition of 4-chamber, 2-chamber, and 3-chamber 2D images from the same window following peak exertion. All of this is done without moving the transducer.
Watch the video below to see xMatrix in action!
Philips PureWave technology was developed to increase frequency coverage and bandwidth. Therefore, increasing penetration and resolution. This is accomplished using crystals that are manufactured to create a near-perfect atomic level arrangement. An additional benefit to Philips’ PureWave innovation is that energy is transferred with up to 85% greater precision and efficiency due to the uniformity and lack of grain boundaries that aren’t found in conventional crystal alignments.
A PureWave ultrasound probe from Philips can cover the frequency range of two transducers. Its tissue aberration correction technology allows speed of sound characteristics not be affected as strongly when scanning patients with significant adipose layers. In the PureWave mode, the ultrasound systems become aware of increased adipose content and applies aberration correction algorithms. This reduces image degradation, resulting in increased sharpness and clarity throughout the entire beam length.
Why does it matter for you? Fewer probes, faster scans, clearer images. Period.
Is your system compatible with XDClear, xMatrix, or PureWave Probes?
Visit our transducer guide page that has the guides for many of our systems that are searchable by application, probe type, or probe name! Probo Medical is the leader in the ultrasound industry, so we’ve developed ultrasound transducer guides to help guide our customers through the often confusing process of purchasing ultrasound equipment.
Interested in Purchasing a Probe or Need an Ultrasound System compatible with XDClear, xMatrix, or PureWave?
Call us today on 01452 729380 to receive an exclusive quote for a new or fully refurbished ultrasound system at a fraction of the OEM price!
About the Author
Brian Gill is Probo Medical’s Vice President of Marketing. He has been in the ultrasound industry since 1999. From sales to service to customer support, he has done everything from circuit board repair and on-site service to networking and PACS, to training clinicians on ultrasound equipment. Through the years, Brian has trained more than 500 clinicians on over 100 different ultrasound machines. Currently, Brian is known as the industry expert in evaluating ultrasounds and training users on all makes and models of ultrasound equipment, this includes consulting with manufacturers with equipment evaluations during all stages of product development.