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Ultrasound Tissue Harmonic Imaging

RCT offers nonexclusive licenses for landmark ultrasound tissue harmonic imaging technology

Work in the early 1990s by P. Ted Christopher, Ph.D., at the University of Rochester’s Center for Biomedical Ultrasound in New York, let to a new mode of ultrasound imaging that has become an important part of medicine today. This breakthrough, called tissue harmonics, enabled development of second- and higher-order harmonic responses of tissue to an ultrasound beam that produces a sharper image than that of the fundamental frequency.

Research Corporation Technologies (RCT) is the assignee for three U.S. patents directed to the ultrasound harmonic imaging technology invented by Christopher. RCT has been working diligently with Christopher and the University of Rochester for more than 10 years to assist in commercializing this technology, which has had a lengthy patent prosecution. The landmark patent covers an ultrasound system that forms images of a sample by sending out a fundamental ultrasound frequency, wherein the sample causes a nonlinear distortion that generates a higher-order harmonic signal and then receiving the higher-order tissue harmonic signal that forms an image from the harmonic signal. The image formed by the higher-order signal is a significant improvement over other signals in most clinical applications, as it provides better lateral and axial resolution as well as improved signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratios.

Because of the improved images generated with higher-order tissue harmonics, industry has widely adopted tissue harmonics on their various platforms. Tissue harmonics imaging has significantly improved ultrasound imaging today, and the fees or royalties under the licenses should recognize this value.

RCT manages the THI technology for its partner, the University of Rochester in New York and is offering nonexclusive licenses to companies that use tissue harmonics covered by the Christopher patents. Acuson Corporation – a Siemens company, Royal Philips Electronics, General Electric, Biosound Esaote, SonoSite and Toshiba are among the licensees of the THI technology.

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RCT Contact

Christopher P. Martin

US Patent

  • 7,104,956, “Finite amplitude distortion-based inhomogeneous pulse echo ultrasonic imaging,” issued Sept. 12, 2006
  • 7,004,905, “Finite amplitude distortion-based inhomogeneous pulse echo ultrasonic imaging,” issued March 27, 2001
  • 6,206,833, “Finite amplitude distortion-based inhomogeneous pulse echo ultrasonic imaging,” issued Feb. 28, 2006 (continuation of application U.S. Ser. No 08/746,360, filed Nov. 8, 1996)