MSc thesis project proposal

[2024] Ultrasound-guided Ultrasound Neuromodulation

In recent years, ultrasound neuromodulation has gained attention as a promising method to modulate electrically excitable tissues. Unlike other neuromodulation modalities, ultrasound (US) waves penetrate noninvasively deep regions inside the body and provide a high spatial resolution. Moreover, a phased-array ultrasound transducer allows electronic control of the focal spot location [1]. In this regard, US neuromodulation offers whatever is needed for safe and accurate neurological therapy. However, the current technology limits the specification of US neuromodulation. One of the main challenges is the lack of real-time feedback on the location and intensity of the focal spot. Current methods of monitoring primarily rely on MRI-based methods. These machines are expensive and only available in some clinics and research centers.

Another approach to implement real-time monitoring is using US imaging. Conventional B-mode US imaging only provides anatomical information but not targeting confirmation. Ultrasound imaging techniques, such as acoustic radiation force imaging (ARFI), shear wave imaging, and harmonic motion imaging (HMI), utilize radiation forces to generate local displacements within the tissue. Tissue motion caused by this radiation force can be tracked using cross-correlation algorithms. Therefore, we can take advantage of conventional elastography imaging techniques to monitor and target acoustic radiation force generated by US neuromodulation pushes [2].

This research project aims to implement an ultrasound-guided algorithm to monitor the location and intensity of the focal spot using high-frame-rate ultrasound imaging. The ultrasound neuromodulation device is based on a phased-array US transducer that focuses ultrasound waves on a given location. The imaging transducer uses high-frame-rate ultrasound imaging that operates at the same frequency as the neuromodulation transducers. The goal is to apply the real-time monitoring algorithm to the US-guided US-neuromodulation transducer designed in the group. This device includes both neuromodulation and imaging transducers in the same chip.



[1] T. Costa et al., “An integrated 2D ultrasound phased array transmitter in CMOS with pixel pitch-matched beamforming,” IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 731–742, 2021.

[2] S. A. Lee, H. A. Kamimura, and E. E. Konofagou, “Displacement imaging during focused ultrasound median nerve modulation: A preliminary study in Human pain sensation mitigation,” IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, vol. 68, no. 3, pp. 526–537, Mar. 2021.


1.       Literature review of ultrasound neuromodulation and targeting approaches.

2.       Design and implementation of a real-time monitoring approach based on high-frame-rate US imaging

3.       Experimental validation with acoustic tests


MSc students from Microelectronics, Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or Applied Physics. Prior knowledge of ultrasound is preferred.

Interested students should include their CV, the list of courses attended, and a motivation letter and send it to Tiago Costa ( and Hassan Rivandi (


dr. Tiago Costa

Bioelectronics Group

Department of Microelectronics

Last modified: 2024-04-02