Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Translating Science into Solutions for Better Health

Resource Center for Medical Ultrasonic Transducer Technology - USC

The Resource Center for Medical Ultrasonic Transducer Technology, associated with the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California, is a multidisciplinary center devoted to research and training in medical ultrasonic transducer engineering. As such, the Center is dedicated to design, modeling, fabrication and testing of high-frequency ultrasonic transducers and arrays, including design, fabrication and testing of supporting electronics. The Ultrasonic Transducer Resource Center first took shape in 1993 at the Pennsylvania State University through a Biomedical Engineering Special Opportunity Award Grant from the Whitaker Foundation, Washington, D.C. The Resource Center then gained funding in 1997 through a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Technology Resource Grant given by the NIH National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) and supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). The grant was used to expand the mission of the Resource Center and help it provide support to academic and research institutions. In August 2002, the Resource Center moved to the University of Southern California and set up laboratories in Denney Research Center (DRB) at the University Park Campus in Los Angeles. Additional support from leading ultrasound equipment manufacturers, industrial and laboratory equipment manufacturers, and the University of Southern California has helped to build the Resource Center into a state-of-the-art facility.

Center Mission

The Resource Center for Medical Ultrasonic Transducer Technology is the result of collaboration in funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the University of Southern California (USC). The Center has set forth a number of goals which define its mission: Conduct novel research and development of very high frequency (>20MHz) ultrasonic transducers, arrays and imaging applications. Collaborate with other academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and small businesses supported by the NIH to further the development of these high-frequency applications and provide the expertise in transducers necessary for project success. Serve as an educational center for training scientists and engineers interested in ultrasonic transducer technology

University Affiliations

A number of academic units are involved with the Resource Center. Each supplies an integral part of training or research in transducer engineering or characterization. They are:

  •   Department of Biomedical Engineering, USC
  •   The Alfred Mann Institute, USC
  •   Electrical Engineering Department, USC
  •   Materials Research Laboratory, PSU
  •   Applied Research Laboratory, PSU
  •   Department of Dermatology, UCI, UCLA
  •   Keck School of Medicine, USC

Resource Center Facilities

The Resource Center has a number of facilities to aid in all stages of the development of transducers and arrays, including modeling, design, fabrication and testing.



Website URL

Contact Information

K. Kirk Shung, PhD
Director and Principal Investigator
Telephone: (213) 821-2653
Fax: (213) 821-3897

Jonathan M. Cannata, PhD
Telephone: 213-821-2649
Fax: (213) 821-3897


One of the primary goals of the Center is to provide service to outside investigators and small business. Often an investigator or company has a specific application in mind but is without the expertise to develop the necessary ultrasonic device. Investigators at academic institutions, research institutes, or small businesses supported by NIH grants who have a need for medical ultrasound transducers and are interested in a collaborative effort should contact <a href="" title="Dr. Jonathan Cannata">Dr. Jonathan Cannata</a> or <a href="" title="Dr. K. Kirk Shung">Dr. K. Kirk Shung</a>. Ultrasound transducers and components can be fabricated either completely by center personnel or in a joint effort with other investigators. In addition, collaborators are encouraged to visit the facility for additional training in fabrication and assembly.

Modeling Software

  •   PZFlex time-domain finite element analysis
  •   ANSYS frequency-domain finite element analysis
  •   PiezoCAD one dimensional modeling
  •   PSPICE circuit analysis
  •   KLM, Redwood and Mason models
  •   Mathcad formula/graphing
  •   FIELD II contour/graphing
  •   MATLAB materials modeling

Design Software

  •   AutoCAD computer aided design/drafting
  •   SolidWorks 3D computer aided design/drafting
  •   LabView virtual equipment interface design
  •   PROTEL printed circuit board design



  •   Thermocarbon TCAR864-1 dicing saw
  •   NanoMaster NSC-3000 sputtering system
  •   March Plasma Systems PX-250 plasma treatment system
  •   SCS PDS2010 parylene coating system
  •   Logitech PM5 precision lapping system
  •   Beckman Coulter Alegra 6 centrifuge
  •   Thermolyne 46100 high temperature furnace
  •   Modular Process Tech. RTP600S rapid heating furnace
  •   Fritsch Pulverisette 5 mill
  •   ATM Corp. L3P-F Sonic Sifter
  •   Carver 25 ton dual-range heated press
  •   Labconco 5070000 glove box
  •   Labconco 7889200 rotary evaporator
  •   Chemat Technology KW-4A spin coater
  •   Heidenhain CT25/ND281B thickness measuring system
  •   Domnic Hunter UHPN1500 nitrogen generator
  •   ELGA PURELAB Ultra Ionic DI water polisher
  •   NEY 57x ultrasonic bath<
  •   Ohaus AR3130 precision scales
  •   Prazi SD400 lathe
  •   OTMT OT2213 mini vertical milling machine
  •   Jet JDP-10 drill press
  •   Torit 60CAB dust collection system
  •   HEPA 0.3&micro;m climate control filtration system
  •   polymer mixing and casting equipment
  •   soldering and wire-bonding equipment
  •   stereo microscopes and assembly stations
  •   ovens, hot plates and magnetic stirrers
  •   vacuum degassing equipment
  •   poling station for piezo materials



  • 20MHz - 100MHz hydrophone systems
  •   multichannel 250MHz digitizers
  •   Optison Schlieren system
  •   Ultraoptec laser interferometer
  •   Radiant Technologies precision LC test system (P loop)
  •   HP 4291B 1MHz to 1.8GHz impedance analyzer
  •   HP 4294A 40Hz to 110MHz impedance analyzer
  •   QuadTech 1715 LCR Digibridge
  •   LeCROY and Tektronix high-frequency oscilloscopes
  •   HP and Wavetek pulse/function generators
  •   Tektronix TLA5202 logic analyzer
  •   Avtec and Panametrics pulser/receivers
  •   APC Products, Inc. YE2730A d33 meter
  •   commercial ultrasound systems
  •   computerized test stations
  •   radiation force balance for low power transducers
  •   setup for high-frequency materials characterization


Current research activities cover the areas of modeling, materials and fabrication required for high-frequency ultrasonic imaging transducers used in ophthalmological, vascular, and dermatological applications.  There exists a wide variety of projects and interests in the Center, though they can be narrowed into three core areas of research:

  • Novel piezoelectric and passive material design for high frequency transducers
  • Single element and array transducer design and fabrication
  • High frequency ultrasonic imaging system electronics

Current Collaborators
The Center's current activites also tend to engage our researchers and students in collaborative investigation with outside groups, both academic and private.  Presently, the Center's collaborators are:

Dr. Katherine Ferrara
The University of California, Davis, Davis, CA.
* Dr. Ferrara is involved with blood flow mapping in ocular tissues.

Dr. Patrick Jensen
The Wilmer Eye Institute, Baltimore, MD.

Dr. Nitish Thakor
The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.
* Dr. Jensen and Dr. Thakor are working on a system which can examine characteristics of structure in the posterior eye region during vitreo-retinal surgery.<br/><b

 Dr. David Sahn
Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU), Portland, OR.
* Dr. Sahn is working on development of integrated IVUS (Intravascular Ultrasound) arrays for intracardiac applications.

Dr. Ron Silverman
Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY.
* Dr. Silverman is working on very high frequency ultrasonic characterization of eye tissues.

Dr. David Vilkomerson
DVX, Inc., Princeton, NJ.
* DVX is interested in the development of high frequency blood flow measurement using implantable ultrasonic diffraction grating transducers.

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