National Physical Laboratory

Medical ultrasound field characterisation

Beam-plotting tank 

NPL's unique range of hydrophones and beam-plotting tanks provide acoustic output measurements of medical ultrasound equipment in the frequency range 500 kHz to 50 MHz, with a positional resolution of 2.5 micrometres.

Facilities include:

  • Bespoke beam-plotting tank with 9 computer-controlled axes
  • Precision Acoustics Ltd beam-plotting tank with 3 computer-controlled axes
  • Multi-element hydrophone-based Ultrasound Beam Calibrator


These facilities cover measurements of the acoustic output of ultrasonic devices against the following standards: IEC 61157, IEC 60601-2-5, IEC 61689 and IEC 60601-2-37 ISO EN45502-1 Clause 22.1 AIUM/NEMA UD-2 AIUM/NEMA UD-3 FDA 510(k), FDA 1050.10

Medical Ultrasound Transmitter Beam Shape

Typical work includes:

  • Acoustic output testing of diagnostic and therapeutic devices for FDA approval and CE marking
  • CW and pulsed ultrasound check source characterisation
  • Ultrasound exposure tests

Experimental investigations can also be carried out to examine the field distribution of pre-market devices, from medical and industrial applications, providing the user with valuable information on beam patterns produced by prototype transducers.

See also:


Customer Service tel: +44 20 8943 8631

Last Updated: 20 Mar 2013
Created: 5 Jun 2009


Please note that the information will not be divulged to third parties, or used without your permission