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A new and extremely sensitive method of measuring ultrasound could revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Researchers at The University of Queensland have combined modern nanofabrication and nanophotonics techniques to build the ultraprecise ultrasound sensors on a silicon chip.

Professor Warwick Bowen, from UQ's Precision Sensing Initiative and the Australian Centre for Engineered Quantum Systems, said the development could usher in a host of exciting new technologies.

"This is a major
stepforward, since accurate ultrasound measurement is critical for a range of applications," he said.
"Ultrasound is used for medical ultrasound, often to examine pregnant women, as well as
forhigh resolution biomedical imaging to detect tumours and other anomalies.

"It's also commonly used for spatial applications, like in the sonar imaging of underwater objects or in the navigation of unmanned aerial vehicles.

"Improving these applications requires smaller, higher precision sensors and, with this new technique, that's exactly what we've been able to develop."

The technology is so sensitive that it can hear, for the first time,
theminiscule random forces from surrounding air molecules.

"We've developed a near perfect ultrasound detector, hitting the limits of what the technology is capable of achieving," Professor Bowen said.

To read more, click here.

Category: Science