Ultraefficient thermoacoustic conversion through a split ring resonator
Published on Jun 4, 2020
· DOI :10.1117/1.AP.2.3.036006
Microwaves, which have a ∼10-cm wavelength, can penetrate deeper into tissue than photons, heralding exciting deep tissue applications such as modulation or imaging via the thermoacoustic effect. Thermoacoustic conversion efficiency is however very low, even with an exogenous contrast agent. We break this low-conversion limit, using a split ring resonator to effectively collect and confine the microwaves into a submillimeter hot spot for ultrasound emission and achieve a conversion efficiency over 2000 times higher than other reported thermoacoustic contrast agents. Importantly, the frequency of emitted ultrasound can be precisely tuned and multiplexed by modulation of the microwave pulses. Such performance is inaccessible by a piezoelectric-based transducer or a photoacoustic emitter and, therefore, split ring resonators open up new opportunities to study the frequency response of cells in ultrasonic biomodulation. For applications in deep tissue localization, a split ring resonator can be used as a wireless, battery-free ultrasound beacon placed under a breast phantom.