Acoustic Black Hole ABH Sensor


Reference #: 01190

The University of South Carolina is offering licensing opportunities for a highly sensitive, acousto-ultrasonic sensor achieved through the application of acoustic black hole concepts.


Invention Description:

The subject invention is an acousto-ultrasonic sensor with a high-sensitivity response enhancement achieved through the application of acoustic black hole concepts. The resulting sensor sensitivity is expected to be orders of magnitude larger than existing acoustic emission and ultrasonic sensors. The sensor output signal can be presented as a photonic (fiber optic) signal or an electric signal, depending on application requirements.


Advantages and Benefits:

The sensor is expected to have a sensitive response that is orders of magnitude larger than what existing sensors are able to offer. It is also expected to have a significantly improved performance over existing sensors with features such as mode selectivity, omnidirectional sensing, frequency tunability, and mechanical amplification.


Potential Applications:

Potential industrial applications are those which use nondestructive evaluation (NDE) and structural health monitoring (SHM) techniques for monitoring structural integrity through ultrasonic waves. These include

•       Civil engineering (bridges, buildings, transportation systems, etc.)

•       Energy infrastructure (wind turbines, nuclear applications, pipelines, offshore, etc.)

•       Aerospace industry (aircraft structural monitoring)

•       National security (surveillance for anti-submarine warfare, anti-terrorism, etc.)

•       Biomedical applications (in-vivo sensors, high-sensitivity ultrasound medical imaging)

•       Manufacturing quality control (acoustic emission monitoring during manufacturing)



Structural health monitoring can be performed with either a passive or an active system. Passive examination uses sensors that “listen” but do not interact with the structure. As such, the passive method does not generally provide direct measurement of damage presence and size, but the general health state of the structure can be inferred from analysis of the response of passive sensors. Active examination utilizes proactive interrogation of sensors embedded in/on a structure to detect damage extent and thereby determine a more detailed analysis.



Detailed theoretical assessment and modeling of the structural response has been performed. A definitive design which is ready for prototyping has been achieved.


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
Victor Giurgiutiu
Erik Frankforter
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