Feeds

Sonic 'hyperlens' offers hi-res ultrasound scans, naval sonar

No it's not a submarine, it's a whale - do not torpedo

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Boffins in California say they have developed a cunning "acoustic hyperlens" which will allow naval sonars and medical ultrasound scanners to increase the resolution of their images eightfold - accurately picturing details much smaller than the wavelength of the sound used to scan them.

The hi-res acoustic hyperlens built by Berkeley Lab scientists. Credit: Berkeley Lab

Absolutely no chance they're wrong about the sex of your baby anymore.

This might seem to be impossible, but according to Xiang Zhang of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory it's reality. The key, apparently, is the use of "evanescent" sound waves - undetectable to normal sonic equipment, which instead relies on propagating waves.

"We have successfully carried out an experimental demonstration of an acoustic hyperlens that magnifies sub-wavelength objects by gradually converting evanescent waves into propagating waves," says Zhang. "Our acoustic hyperlens relies on straightforward cutoff-free propagation and achieves deep subwavelength resolution with low loss over a broad frequency bandwidth."

The lens, made of brass, works by funnelling the normally undetectable evanescent sound waves into a small area and so concentrating them into propagating waves. According to the Berkeley lab, it has already produced two-dimensional sonic images of objects 6.7 times smaller than the wavelength of the sound used. Zhang and his crew are now working on a model which can work with the pulse-echo imaging used in both naval sonars and medical ultrasound scanners, and on upgrading to 3-D imaging.

"Directly applied to current ultrasound pulse-echo technology, the hyperlens would allow the use of lower input frequency, which in turn would increase the penetration depth and allow physicians to see, for example, smaller tumors or finer features of larger objects that could help them identify other abnormalities," Zhang says.

In undersea warfare, sonars don't normally need to detect very small objects - one is normally seeking to spot a submarine or at worst a large mine. But hyperlens sonars would seem able to maintain the same resolution at much lower frequency, which would mean being able to detect any given target from further away. It's certainly no surprise to note that the Office of Naval Research contributed funds to the hyperlens project.

Zhang and Co's letter in Nature Materials, Experimental Demonstration of an Acoustic Magnifying Hyperlens, can be read here by subscribers. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.