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Report Shows Micro-Machined Ultrasound Transducers Market Growing

By Medimaging International staff writers
Posted on 31 Jul 2018
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Image: Piezoelectric micro-machined ultrasonic transducers (Photo courtesy of PZFlex).
Image: Piezoelectric micro-machined ultrasonic transducers (Photo courtesy of PZFlex).
Micro-machined ultrasonic transducers (MUTs), in the form of PMUTs (Piezoelectric micro-machined ultrasonic transducers) and CMUTs (capacitive micro-machined ultrasonic transducers), are finally coming to market. New applications, along with improved manufacturing capabilities and advanced technological readiness, are driving the impressive growth of MUTs.

These are the latest findings of Yole Développement (YoleVilleurbanne, Lyon, France), a market research and consulting company.

Ten years after Hitachi introduced the first ultrasound technology probe, MUT technologies have created a high level of excitement. R&D teams have been working intensively to develop new ultrasonic transducers and overcome the challenges linked to MUTs. The overall ultrasound modules market is estimated to have recorded sales of USD 2.1 billion in 2017 and grow at a significant CAGR of 18% between 2017 and 2023 to reach USD 5.7 billion by 2023. The mass-market for MUTs is about to happen mainly due to some favorable factors.

First, applications are pushing for these technologies. CMUT, which was developed 30 years ago, is traditionally used in medical applications and, has only recently found its killer application – handheld ultrasound. The medical ultrasound market will witness significant changes with the arrival of new products such as the USD 2,000 Butterfly IQ ultrasound probe. This handheld, low-cost device will reshape medical ultrasound usage, with new customers such as primary care, emergency physicians, and nurses using imaging as an everyday tool. Ultrasound is expected to become the new stethoscope. Medical ultrasonic imaging will democratize into general practitioners as well as homes due to cheaper and smaller probes.

Second, the technology is ready. Miniaturization, low cost, and integration are the key drivers for ultrasonic transducers, giving rise to the popularity of new technologies coming from the semiconductor industry. Thirdly, several industry players have consistently invested in these technologies, thus readying the supply chain. Lastly, assembly is an important part of manufacturing, especially if the mass-market is targeted, and companies have readied the supply chain. This alignment of these favorable factors has set the stage for the arrival of MUTs in several applications and markets.

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