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iQ3 CMUT sensor from Butterfly Network: the ins and outs

Product Related

Innovative 9656 Transmitter CMUT MEMS die in Butterfly’s iQ3 handheld point-of-care ultrasound system.

OUTLINE

  • The iQ3, Butterfly Network’s third-generation CMUT sensor, received FDA clearance in January 2024 and follows the sale of over 80,000 iQ and iQ+ devices by the end of 2023.
  • The manufacturing process of the latest CMUT generations is reduced to 10 lithography masks and one SOI substrate, which results in reduced costs and smaller CMUT elements.
  • The iQ3 features a redesigned CMUT with the bottom electrode on the ASIC die and a new assembly method for the acoustic lens, enhancing performance and integration.

The CMUT detectors market was worth US$4.4 million in 2022, mainly due to Butterfly Network, and is expected to grow to more than US$21 million in 2028, with a 29% CAGR22-28. In its Ultrasound Sensing 2023 report, Yole Group expects this growth to come from the increase in the number of handheld ultrasound echographs in healthcare centers as well as by clinicians, caregivers, and patients outside the healthcare centers. Furthermore, in the next years, CMUT technologies are expected to penetrate IVUS , wearable patches, and endoscopes to bring more miniaturization and high-quality imaging.

In this context, Yole Group today provides a comprehensive reverse engineering and cost analysis of the Butterfly Network iQ3. This sensor is Butterfly Network’s third-generation handheld point-of-care ultrasound system. It received FDA clearance ahead of schedule in January 2024 and follows the company’s previous success in selling and shipping over 80,000 Butterfly iQ and iQ+ devices by the end of 2023.

This new Butterfly Network iQ3 CMUT Sensor report focuses on analyzing the CMUT semiconductor and ASIC, including a teardown of the iQ3 ultrasound device. It provides detailed information on the significant ICs and a complete physical analysis using delayering, cross-section, optical, SEM images, and FIB . This reveals all the technical elements developed by Butterfly Network, with a comparison to their patents. The report also examines the complete ultrasonic CMUT MEMS teardown, die costs, and the supply chain.

In 2020, Butterfly Network developed a large CMUT die for integration into their handheld medical ultrasound devices. The first-generation iQ, manufactured by TSMC using semiconductor technology, was highly complex, requiring 17 lithography masks and two SOI substrates, with acoustic cavities only a few nanometers thick.

Sylvain_HALLEREAU-SHA_YSP
Sylvain Hallereau Principal Technology & Cost Analyst, Global Semiconductors at Yole Group
“For their latest generations, Butterfly Network significantly simplified the manufacturing process, reducing it to 10 lithography masks and one SOI substrate. The cavity thickness was increased sevenfold, allowing greater membrane amplitude, reducing manufacturing costs, and producing smaller CMUT elements.”

In the iQ, the CMUT MEMS wafer is bonded to the ASIC wafer, with the MEMS and ASIC connected by gold bumps. In the iQ3, while the top electrode of the CMUT remains on the MEMS, the bottom electrode is now on the ASIC die, featuring a new ASIC die design. Additionally, the assembly of the acoustic lens has been redesigned, no longer being molded onto the MEMS but instead reported.

Yole Group’s global semiconductors team invites you to follow the sensing & actuating technologies, related devices, applications, and markets on www.yolegroup.com.

Stay tuned!

Acronyms

  • CMUT : Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducer
  • FDA : Food and Drug Administration
  • SOI : Silicon On Insulator
  • ASIC : Application Specific Integrated Circuit
  • IVU : IntraVascular UltraSound
  • SEM : Scanning Electron Microscope
  • FIB : Focus Ion Beam

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