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Date: 10-09-10

8 channel ultrasound Tx/Rx chipset from National Semiconductor for portable medical electronics

National Semiconductor has released an eight-channel ultrasound transmit/receive chipset specifically designed for portable ultrasound systems used in hospitals, clinics, ambulances and remote point-of-care facilities. This chipset circuit architecture enables the design of both hand-carried and handheld units.

The eight-channel transmit/receive chipset features receive analog front end (AFE), transmit/receive switch, transmit pulser and configurable transmit beamformer. This device allows the designer to build lightweight 128-channel portable ultrasound systems with enhanced image quality and diagnostics in a small footprint. This chipset with comprehensive evaluation kits, reference schematics and tools that help customers make detailed chip performance evaluations and accelerate time-to-market.

“Previously, this level of ultrasound imaging quality was only attainable with large cart-based consoles,” said Dr. Norbert Gaus, chief executive officer of the Clinical Products Division of Siemens Healthcare. “National Semiconductor has significantly raised the bar in terms of imaging performance and low-power consumption for portable ultrasound systems.”

National say it’s AFE architecture provides superior imaging quality and B-mode power consumption that is 10 percent lower than the closest comparable AFE.

The chip set includes:
LM96511 PowerWise Ultrasound Receive Analog Front End:
The LM96511 AFE integrates eight channels of LNA, DVGA, 12-bit, 40-50 MHz ADC with LVDS data outputs and eight demodulators for CW Doppler beamforming. The AFE offers B-mode power consumption at 110 mW per channel and channel-to-channel gain matching of +/- 0.06 dB (typical). The integrated CW Doppler delivers 161 dB per Hz of dynamic range, enabling measurement of low velocity blood flow in organs such as the liver. National claims this device performs better than competing devices on multiple parameters.

LM96530 PowerWise Ultrasound Transmit/Receive Switch:
The LM96530 contains eight transmit/receive switches with integrated clamping diodes and offers an individual channel shut-off capability.
Natinal says compared to other T/R switches, the LM96530 provides 55 percent better input referred noise (0.5 nV/sqrt Hz) and 53 percent lower on-resistance (16 Ohms), thereby increasing receiver sensitivity and image resolution. The LM96530 features daisy-chained SPI control to reduce the number of FPGA I/O pins required for programming.

LM96550 PowerWise Ultrasound Transmit Pulser:
The LM96550 contains eight pulsers with damper circuit that generates +/- 50V bipolar pulses with peak currents up to 2A and pulse rates up to 20 MHz. The LM96550 features over-temperature protection by continuously monitoring on-chip temperature and providing power-down logic output.

LM96570 PowerWise Ultrasound Configurable Transmit Beamformer:
The LM96570 provides an order of magnitude jitter performance improvement (25 ps pk-pk) over beamforming traditionally done in FPGAs. This enables much higher resolution imaging in B-mode and low blood velocity measurements in CW Doppler mode. The LM96570 simplifies board layout since system designers can place it directly next to the pulser, thereby avoiding the typical routing challenges of connecting an FPGA’s I/O pins to the pulser.

LM96511 AFE:11 mm x 17 mm, 376-pin BGA.
LM96530 transmit/receive switch: 9 mm by 9 mm, 60-pin LLP.
LM96550 pulser: 12 mm by 12 mm, 80-pin LLP.
LM96570 beamformer: 5 mm by 5 mm, 32-pin LLP

LM96511 AFE: Each US$55 for 1K pieces.
LM96530 transmit/receive switch: Each US$8 for 1K pieces.
LM96550 pulser:Each US$20 for 1K pieces.
LM96570 beamformer:Each US$6 for 1K pieces.

Availability: Now in samples, volumes by November 2010.

For more information on National’s ultrasound transmit/receive chipset and evaluation system, visit www.national.com/ultrasound. To see a video demonstration of the LM96511 AFE operating in B-mode and CW Doppler-mode, with input signals that emulate a real ultrasound environment, visit http://bit.ly/LM965xxDemoVideo.

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