Tiny Pulser Powers Portable Ultrasound Devices


Tiny, low-cost and high-speed pulsar chip simpiifies medical ultrasound design

A growing number of ultra-portable, affordable medical ultrasound image devices have recently emerged on the market, spurring the demand for compact, high-performance and low-cost components.

STMicroelectronics has recently launched a new high-voltage, compact, robust and cost-effective transmission pulsar chip to provide a solution for high-end cart systems and ultra-portable ultrasound equipment.

Highly-integrated 16-channel ultrasound pulser IC


The STHV1600 is the highly-integrated 16-channel ultrasound pulser IC embedding high-resolution beamforming for its 16 independent channels. The user can easily program a code excitation implementing high voltage sequence states and store the resulting pattern in the onboard RAM memory (65 kbits), supporting integration of Shear Wave elastography mode onto existing diagnostic ultrasound modalities, according to the company.

The SPI control interface reduces the number of input signals and pins, to give the flexibility to manage digital inputs in CMOS or LVDS mode clocked up to 200MHz. Each channel can support up to five output levels (5-Level) and the output stages can provide up to ±2A peak output current (or ±4A, with 3-Level), independent from the high-voltage power-supply pins.

Commenting on the new announcement, ST said: “The STHV1600 includes several global blocks including thermal protection for the logic and for each channel, under-voltage protection, and self-biased high-voltage MOSFET gate drivers with internal checks. These blocks simplify designs for ultrasound equipment and reduce the cost and size of ultrasound imaging machines, widening its potential scope from Ultraportable to High-End cart-base platforms.”


The STHV1600 (in a 144-ball 10×10 TFBGA) is in production and currently sampling to lead customers. An evaluation board for the STHV1600, STEVAL-IME014V1 is currently available to select customers.

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