Analog Devices Creates Chip for Portable Ultrasound

Ultrasound examinations are increasingly conducted in non-traditional environments, such as doctor’s offices, ambulatory units, and remote rural or under-developed locations. But the convenience of portability has required manufacturers to sacrifice image quality, limiting the medical diagnoses that can be made with portable ultrasound equipment. A new imaging chip from Analog Devices, Inc. (NYSE: ADI) promises to greatly ease this trade-off.

A global leader in high-performance semiconductors for signal-processing applications and the leading provider of data conversion technology, ADI is well-known to medical imaging equipment makers as an innovator and strategic supplier. The AD9271 integrates a complete eight-channel (octal) ultrasound receiver on a single chip. This unprecedented level of integration allows medical equipment designers to reduce the size of the signal path for mobile ultrasound systems by 50 percent and lower power requirements by 25 percent, all while achieving noise levels and other performance metrics required in critical care settings.

Specifically, the AD9271 analog front end (AFE) replaces previous multi-chip discrete solutions and their associated requirements for interconnect and package space with a single chip that combines a low-noise amplifier (LNA), a variable-gain amplifier (VGA), an anti-aliasing filter (AAF) and a 12-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC).

“Medical imaging advancements and ADI’s signal processing technology have worked hand in hand for many years,” said John Hussey, vice president of High Speed Signal Processing, Analog Devices. “From multi-slice CT to digital X-ray, our engineers apply their strong system level understanding to the challenges facing medical electronics designers. This new product highlights our commitment to bring the same dedication to portable medical electronics applications.”

Market researchers at Frost & Sullivan forecast that the U.S. market for portable medical ultrasound will reach $330 million within the next three years, growing at a compounded rate of 19.2 percent.

About the AD9271
Primarily targeted toward the medical imaging market, the new AD9271 is designed for low power consumption, small size and ease of use. Allowing greater channel count without increasing battery and power supply size, the AD9271 ADC with integrated front end operates from 10 MSPS (mega samples per second) to 50 MSPS using only 115-mW to 175-mW-per-channel respectively—25 percent less than competing solutions. Fabricated in an advanced CMOS process, the AD9271 includes an integrated crosspoint switch, allowing numerous multi-channel configuration options that can be enabled with the CW (continuous wave) Doppler mode. This makes possible the powering down of individual channels to save battery life. Each channel of the AD9271 features a variable gain range of 30 dB, and the integrated ADC has 70 dB SNR (signal-to-noise ratio), matching the performance previously available only in discrete solutions.

Like other products in ADI’s complete high-speed ADC family, the AD9271 contains several features to help maximize flexibility and minimize system cost. These include programmable clock, data alignment and digital-test-pattern generation. The AD9271 was specifically designed to interface with the AD8339, a quad programmable I&Q demodulator with phase shifter that is ideally suited for CW Doppler ultrasound systems. The AD9271 also complements ADI’s AD7980, AD9704, ADV212 and ADR510, comprising the broadest product portfolio targeting the medical imaging and ultrasound markets available from any IC manufacturer today.

Availability and Pricing
The AD9271 ADC with integrated AFE is sampling now with volume production scheduled for May 2007. The new device is priced at $40 to $72 in 1,000-unit quantities depending on speed grade. The AD9271 is housed in a Pb-free, 14 mm x 14 mm, 100-lead TQFP (thin-quad flat pack) package. Sample units are now available.

About Analog Devices
Innovation, performance, and excellence are the cultural pillars on which Analog Devices has built one of the most long-standing, high-growth companies within the technology sector. Acknowledged industry-wide as the world leader in data conversion and signal conditioning technology, Analog Devices serves over 60,000 customers around the world, representing virtually all types of electronics equipment. Celebrating more than 40 years as a leading global manufacturer of high-performance integrated circuits used in analog and digital signal processing applications, Analog Devices, Inc. is headquartered in Norwood, Massachusetts, and employs approximately 8,900 people worldwide. It has manufacturing facilities in Massachusetts, California, North Carolina, Ireland, and the Philippines. Analog Devices’ common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and ADI is included in the S&P 500 Index.