TI Drives New Market of Handheld Ultrasound Systems with Industry’s Smallest, Lowest-Power Analog Front Ends

Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) today introduced two new integrated analog front ends (AFEs) for handheld ultrasound systems. The newest members of TI’s AFE family for medical ultrasound, the 16-channel AFE5851 and the eight-channel AFE5801, are the smallest, lowest-power analog front ends in the industry. They bring breakthrough power efficiency and a smaller footprint to support the new market for handheld ultrasound systems that can fit in a doctor’s pocket.

New uses of electronic medical devices and emerging economies are driving the need for innovative, handheld ultrasound systems. Doctors in remote regions and medical technicians in first responder situations need a non-invasive tool for accurate, on-site diagnosis. By carrying a system at all times, doctors can also use ultrasound for new application areas, such as the diagnosis of cardiac conditions.

“We expect a broad range of new applications to emerge as ultrasound systems become handheld. Imagine how many more people could receive fast, effective medical diagnosis and treatment if every doctor could carry an ultrasound device in the pocket, just like a stethoscope?” said Matt Harrison, general manager of TI’s medical business unit. “Portable ultrasound manufacturers choose the AFE58xx family for its high integration, power and noise optimization. With the new AFE5851 and AFE5801, TI is enabling high image quality with even lower power consumption to address this new market for small, handheld systems.”

Smallest size for lowest power

The new AFE5851 features 39mW/channel at 32.5MSPS and integrates 16 variable gain amplifiers (VGAs) and eight 12b, 65MSPS analog to digital converters (ADCs). The ADC is shared between two VGAs, and each VGA differential output is sampled at alternate clock cycles to optimize power efficiency. The ADC has scalable power consumption to further lower power use with lower sampling rates. The AFE5851’s high channel count and low-power features allow for increased channel density in handheld ultrasound systems.

The second new device, the AFE5801, features 50mW/channel at 30 MSPS and 58 mW/channel at 50 MSPS. It integrates eight VGAs and eight 12b, 65 MSPS high-speed ADCs with LVDS data outputs.

Both the AFE5851 and AFE5801 can be preceded by a transformer or an off-chip low-noise amplifier, which can be located on the probe. This new architecture results in at least 40% power savings when compared to other devices currently available on the market.

Available in a 9mm x 9mm package, the two new AFE58xx devices are the smallest analog front ends currently available in the market, with a 70% smaller footprint than competitive analog front ends for ultrasound systems, and 40% smaller than previously introduced devices in the AFE58xx family.

Full portfolio for easy, high-quality ultrasound system design

TI’s AFE58xx family, introduced in March 2008, allows the design of innovative, affordable ultrasound systems with the smallest size, superior image quality and reduced power consumption across all ultrasound market segments. The AFE5805 serves the portable to mid-range ultrasound market. The AFE5804 is pin-to-pin compatible to ease migration to an even lower power solution, should a design require it.

In addition to the AFE58xx family, TI offers a full portfolio of integrated circuits for ultrasound systems and other medical imaging equipment, including high-performance digital signal processors (DSPs), digital media processors based on DaVinci™ technology, OMAP™ application processors, high-speed data converters and amplifiers, power management, clocks and interface devices, as well as wireless connectivity solutions.

Pricing, packaging and availability

Both the AFE5851 and AFE5801 are available in a 9mm x 9mm, 64-QFN package, with a suggested resale price of $52 each for the AFE5801 and $92 for the AFE5851, both in 1000-unit quantities. Samples and EVMs for both devices are available now, with volume production for the AFE5851 scheduled for December 2008, and March 2009 for the AFE5801.

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