New Ultrasonic Technologies for Guided Endoscopic Surgery

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

11:00am - 12:15pm

310 Kelly Hall - VT Campus

Dr. Jeremy Brown

Electrical and Computer Engineering and School of Biomedical Engineering

Dalhousie University in Halifax


Conventional clinical ultrasound scanners can achieve spatial resolution on the order of 500 um over a penetration depth of up to 20 cm. In contrast, new high-frequency ultrasound technology has recently been developed that can achieve resolution of 50 um over a penetration depth of up to 20 mm.  The short penetration depth and high resolution make high-frequency ultrasound particularly suitable for use in guided endoscopic surgery. In these minimally invasive procedures, a set of surgical instruments are inserted into a small incision site along with a set of imaging tools, typically endoscopic optical cameras and light sources.  The entire surgical procedure is done solely under image guidance.  Such an approach has become standard of care for a very large number of surgical procedures including those of the brain, colon, pancreas, uterus, bowel, etc. A major limitation to optical image guidance is that image information is limited to the surface. Recently, our group has developed a high-frequency forward-looking ultrasound endoscope, that is suitable for guiding endoscopic procedures. It provides high-resolution depth resolved information. The packaged form factor for this micro-fabricated transducer has been miniaturized down to just a few millimetres and tested in-vivo. This device could potentially replace the optical image guidance. The development and characterization of this imaging technology will be presented. In addition, recent advancements that we have made in miniaturizing an ultrasonic tissue ablation transducer will be discussed with the ultimate goal of integrating the miniature imaging transducer and ultrasonic scalpel into the same endoscope. Such a device will provide precision tissue ablation with co-registered high-resolution imaging.


Dr. Jeremy Brown was born in London Ontario Canada in 1978. He received his B.Sc.Eng. in Engineering Physics in 2001, and his Ph.D. in applied physics in 2005. Both from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Between March 2006 and January 2008, Dr. Brown completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In February 2008, Dr. Brown began a faculty position in Biomedical Engineering at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and has since been cross appointed to the department of Electrical Engineering. In 2009, he was also appointed as an affiliated scientist at Nova Scotia Health Authority in the department of Surgery. Dr. Brown’s principal research interests include piezoelectric transducer design, fabrication and characterization for both ultrasonic imaging and therapeutic applications. This includes all of the associated electronic hardware required to drive capture and process the ultrasonic signals. His research in high-frequency ultrasound is focused on the development of very high resolution micro-fabricated imaging endoscopes for guided surgical applications. His research in low frequency ultrasound is focused on developing miniature highly focused therapeutic transducers for precision tissue ablation.