Integrated 32-channel ultrasound transmitter is optimised for handheld scanners

The family of ultrasound transmitters available from STMicroelectronics has been expanded with the addition of a 32-channel model, the STHVUP32. It has a high output current and provides ±800mA for portable systems that demand extra drive capability for a coaxial cable-mounted probe.

It is designed to increase performance and integration in affordable, high performing scanners for medical and industrial applications to maximise image quality, built-in digital beam steering, a space-saving driver architecture, and low power consumption, said ST.

The STHVUP32 has five-level output capability, in addition to the common three-level output, which enhances flexibility to optimise picture quality, explained ST. The high output current allows the scanner’s piezoelectric transducer to be driven at high speed to enable multiple imaging modes. It also helps achieve minimum pulse duration of five nanoseconds for enhanced image detail. The transmitter supports continuous wave (CW) and pulsed wave (PW) operating modes to allow various types of analysis including cavities and liquid flow.

The digital beam steering enhances directional control and permits greater precision than conventional analogue steering using delay circuits, said the company. By integrating the beam steering logic, the transmitter can be used without a companion chip such as an FPGA. This saves PCB space and routing complexity, as well as bypassing FPGA-design challenges.

The STHVUP32 has a self-biased driver architecture that saves connecting decoupling capacitors to the transmitter’s power supply pins. This helps ensure a smaller circuit footprint, as well as reducing the bill of materials (BoM). The transmitter is housed in a smaller package than comparable alternative ICs, said ST.

Low power consumption is optimised for battery-operated systems with on-chip memory for storing transmission patterns. Synchronisation using a clock signal up to 200MHz can enhance image quality by minimising jitter. The IC also provides a communication port that supports multiple CMOS signalling standards, confirmed ST.

The transmitter has noise blocking, thermal protection, under-voltage protection, and recirculating current protection. There is also a diagnostic register that allows directly reading the causes of interrupts to ease debugging in the event of a malfunction.

The STHVUP32 is built using ST’s proven BCD8s-SOI technology that supports analogue (bipolar), digital (CMOS), and power (DMOS) circuits on the same die. 

The transmitter is in production now, in a 11.5 x 10.5 x 1.35mm 168-ball FC-BGA168 package.

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