National Engineering Technology Research Center for Mobile Ultrasonic Detection
time: 2017-06-29

“National Engineering Technology Research Center for Mobile Ultrasonic Detection” is set up in December 2013 by Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China, and constructed by South China University of Technology (SCUT). The total investment of the center is 38 million yuan, including 7 million yuan from Ministry of Science and Technology and 9 million yuan from Guangdong Provincial Department of Science and Technology. The director of the center is Professor Wei Gang. The center is the first department in China concentrating on the research and development of the ultrasonic detection technology and the corresponding products, which aim to make contribution in damage detection for railway, underwater mapping, medical examination, power detection, marine biological detection and other fields.

The center is constructed based on the Engineering Research Center of Ministry of Education for Short Range Wireless Communication and Networks, and Key Laboratory of Guangdong Province for Short Range Wireless Detection and Communication. Radio Department of SCUT, the predecessor, was one of the first departments that set up the major of Radio and Ultrasonic Detection. Professor FENG Bingquan, Ph. D from Harvard University, was the founder of Radio Department, and Professor LIN Weigan, Ph. D from University of California and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was the department chairman for the first term. Since 1960, Radio Department had begun the research for plane bending ultrasonic transducers, it provided sonar equipment for the submarine of China, filling the gaps at that time and receiving a lot of national awards. After 1980, the department set up cooperation with many enterprises in China, and many patents were transformed into the key products of these enterprises.

For the drawback of the traditional ultrasonic detection system, the center can provide a complete solution. The existing ultrasonic detection technique carries out in the traditional way with isolated simplex receivers and transmitters, transmitting narrow pulse signal to targets. However, the targets are very close to the detector and the band of detecting signal is extremely narrow. The echo signal carries only a little information. Meanwhile, the work area is in the far-field. The multi-echo results in a low energy efficiency. Besides, only the echo amplitude is estimated and the accuracy is not satisfactory. To overcome all these disadvantages of traditional detection methods, the center proposes firstly to emit continuous wide-band signal to obtain more information. The work area will be in the near-field to improve the energy efficiency, and the frequency estimation will be carried out to achieve a higher accuracy. Theoretically, this new proposal can lead to an accuracy several orders of magnitude higher than those of traditional detection systems. The center also proposes solutions for the technical challenge brought by the new proposal. For the interference caused by the continuous signal, continuous duplex reception is proposed. The back-end will eliminate the direct path echo with the help of cloud computing. The wideband frequency-modulated signal is used to solve the fluctuation and null point problems in the near-field. We also propose some parameter estimation methods that can achieve the accuracy close to the theoretical bound. The center has already solve all the theoretical problems for ultrasonic detection, and obtained a lot of corresponding achievements, including more than ten national and provincial awards, over 300 invention patents, more than 400 approved projects and over 500 papers.

The center carries out the research about the mobile ultrasonic detection technology, including mobile ultrasonic probes, mobile internet, wireless communication, radio frequency technology, ultrasonic image processing, ultrasonic pattern recognition and cloud computing platform. High accuracy ultrasonic detection methods with wireless networks is provided to solve the key technical problems in the field of defect detection for railway, underwater mapping, medical examination, power detection, marine biological detection and other fields. The center implements the director responsibility system under the leadership of the management committee, committee on engineering technology and committee on operation management. In the center, there are 8 research and development departments for engineering technology, and 9 business departments for application system.

The achievements of the center will improve the engineering level and innovation of ultrasonic detection and promote the development of the new high standard detection technology for infrastructure, industrial flaw detection, healthcare and other fields. By driving forward the development of the railway traffic, industrial detection, underwater detection and medical diagnosis, the achievements are also of great importance and value to the national economy, public standards of living and the core competence of the national ultrasonic detection industry.