Collaboration to improve medical needles

Issued: Tue, 04 Sep 2018 11:02:00 BST

Nico Fenu and Professor Sandy Cochran, his PhD supervisor, have recently been involved in a cutting-edge project on lead-free piezoelectric material characterisation with the MedTech start-up company, Active Needle Technology Ltd (ANT).

The company is developing innovative techniques to enhance the images obtained with ultrasound and to increase the accuracy of the track of needles for biopsy and anaesthesia during needle insertion. These techniques rely on the use of piezoelectric materials in disposable devices to stimulate needle motion. Conventional materials have a high lead content which is progressively being removed from most applications due to its toxicity and environmental impact.

 “The work by the University of Glasgow has been crucial in understanding the novel materials we want to use, allowing us to carry out design and prototyping with full confidence” said Dr Mike Irvine, Project Director at ANT. “With the successful incorporation of these materials into our devices, we will improve our environmental foot-print and future-proof our design in the face of tighter regulations.”

 Professor Cochran and Mr Fenu, of Medical and Industrial Ultrasonics in the School of Engineering, are delighted to assist the high technology start-up in this way and are looking forward to future interaction with ANT through a Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Ultrasonic Engineering that is presently with EPSRC awaiting a funding decision.