My research involves the development and application of ultrasonic devices and systems tailored for emerging biomedical applications. My work includes developing new ultrasound probes for a range of medical imaging applications, and creating devices for acoustic tweezing with applications in biosciences research.
The primary focus of my research is the development of miniature, high resolution ultrasound for clinical imaging. The ultrasound scanners commonly used in most clinical situations can provide images with resolution on the order of 1 mm. While this is useful for many clinical applications, there are many clinical and pre-clinical applications that can benefit from improved image resolution. Micro-ultrasound, with resolution in the range of 10 – 100 μm, is needed to resolve the fine structure of tissues, requiring in turn new ultrasound probes, or transducer arrays, capable of imaging with these resolutions to enable the new clinical applications.
Since both the probe dimensions and image resolution scale with the imaging wavelength (and conversely with operating frequency), miniaturised probes can to be developed. This introduces many challenges in fabricating new devices, but also creates opportunities for integrating miniature probes in endoscopes or other interventional tools like biopsy needles, that can be used for diagnosis and guiding a range of clinical procedures. Examples are the design of new probes integrated into biopsy needles optimised for guiding procedures in neurosurgery, or integrated into a swallowable pill for investigating gastrointestinal diseases. Alongside the development of new devices, my group is exploring the clinical and pre-clinical applications of micro-ultrasound imaging.
I have also developed transducer arrays for biosciences research applications, creating arrays with independently controlled elements that generate reconfigurable ultrasound fields for trapping and moving particles and cells. I have also used reconfigurable arrays to produce complex ultrasound fields, demonstrating real-world versions of science fiction concepts such as “Sonic Screwdrivers” and “Tractor Beams”.