National Physical Laboratory

Ultrasound accuracy

NPL scientists have developed a measurement method that helps users to make physiotherapy ultrasound machines safer.

Ultrasound accuracy

Using a material derived from submarine 'cloaking' technology, the new device can absorb and measure the ultrasound beams more accurately than ever before.

The Challenge

During ultrasound treatment it is a safety requirement that the patient is not exposed to ultrasound intensity levels of greater than 3 watts of power per square centimetre. When NHS scientists in Lothian region used NPL's new method to test the output level of an ultrasound machine, they discovered that it was actually emitting twice as much power as it indicated it was.

The Impact

By using NPL's technique, users and manufacturers can ensure that physiotherapy ultrasound devices are produced and calibrated to a safe working standard. And patients undergoing physiotherapy treatment can be confident that they are not being exposed to potentially damaging amounts of ultrasound.

NPL licensed this technology to Precision Acoustics, who have been selling it to end-users since 2004.

For further information, contact Mark Hodnett

Find out more about NPL's research on Ultrasound

Last Updated: 9 Oct 2012
Created: 11 Nov 2010

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