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2012-04-25 06:07:00.0 Topics

Advanced Health Care Contributions Foreseen

TOKYO, Japan, – April 25, 2012 – Advantest Corporation (TSE: 6857, NYSE: ATE) today announced that it has successfully developed a prototype of photoacoustic imaging system utilizing the photoacoustic effect(∗). Commercial development continues to go forward and is expected to contribute to advanced health care.

∗: Certain materials emit ultrasonic waves when pulsed light is directed at them - a phenomenon known as the photoacoustic effect.

Photoacoustic Imaging Technology

The last couple of years have seen an explosion of interest in photoacoustic imaging, also known as photoacoustic tomography, which marries spectroscopic imaging with the transmissibility of ultrasound waves. Whereas ultrasound imaging-in which sound waves are bounced through the body and their returning echoes detected-can only perform hardness imaging, Photoacoustic imaging can detect the constituent elements of images and measure changes in chemical composition. Known as "functional imaging," this technique can, for instance, measure hemoglobin in blood by shining green light which only hemoglobin absorbs. Moreover, by rendering the measurement as a visual image, locations of hemoglobin concentration can be identified. Figure 1 depicts the scientific principles of photoacoustic imaging applied by researchers pursuing potential health-care applications.


Fig.1: When a target absorbs pulsed light of a wavelength selected to match its chemical composition, adiabatic expansion (heating) causes it to emit acoustic signals (ultrasound waves). By timing how long it takes these signals to reach the ultrasound detector, the distance to the target material can be estimated.

The Advantest Photoacoustic Imaging System


Photoacoustic Imaging System Prototype (This is not yet commercially available)

  1. Real-time imaging
    Ultrafast signal processing and proprietary algorithms allow the system to reconstruct images at a top speed of 30fps (frames per second), with no lag, enabling operators to monitor subjects in real time.
  2. Signal processing technology developed by a top maker of measurement instruments
    Honed over decades in the test and measurement industry, Advantest's signal processing expertise is second to none. The combination of cutting-edge signal processing and ultrasonic measurement technology breaks new ground in photoacoustics, enabling super-sensitive signal detection and imaging.
  3. Smaller form factor to increase operator convenience
    Hitherto, photoacoustic equipment has been encumbered with large, heavy light sources. Advantest is developing a purpose-built light source that will enable the new system to boast a smaller form factor for greater portability and operator convenience.

New system to be marketed to health care professionals

In keeping with its corporate mission of “Supporting technology on the leading edge,” Advantest sees a natural fit for its technology in the medical devices market. A leader for the Photoacoustic imaging system development team, Dr. Kawaguchi, said, “Our goal is to contribute to society through technology. By developing a medical imaging system, we hope to share the benefits of advanced technology with patients around the world.” The company is currently seeking medical device certification for the new system with an eye on the dermatology field, among others.

Advantest will exhibit the prototype Photoacoustic imaging system at the ADVANTEST EXPO 2012, to be held in June 2012 in Tokyo. The experimental results measured by the new system will also be presented to the 51st Annual Conference of Japanese Society for Medical and Biological Engineering and to the 85th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Japan Society of Ultrasonics in Medicine in May.

Prototype Specifications

  1. Light Source
    Wavelength 532nm, Light intensity <MPE (Maximum Permissive Exposure)
  2. Frame Rate
    Max. 30fps
  3. Frame Area
    10mm wide x 3mm deep
  4. Electrical Input
    AC100V (100-120) 750VA 50/60Hz
  5. System Size
    (W) 500mm X (D) 500mm X (H) 1100mm
    Weight: < 120Kg

Further Enquiries

New Concept Product Initiative, STeLS Project
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Note: All information supplied in this release is correct at the time of publication, but may be subject to change without warning.