Ultrasonic Sensors and Methods


© Fraunhofer IKTS
Focused sound field of a ultrasonic phased array probe.
Elastic waves in a reinforced concrete specimen after mechanical impact.
Ultrasonic phased array probe with mechanical focusing for use on curved components, tubes, and holes.

Focus of the "Ultrasonic Sensors and Methods" working group at Fraunhofer IKTS in Dresden is on methodological planning and optimization of ultrasonics-based test methods and in the development and manufacturing of highly sensitive and reliable ultrasonic transducers for special applications.

The complexity of today's materials and components makes simulation-assisted planning and optimization of probes and test methods indispensable. The entire test setup can be modeled on a computer and checked for physical plausibility, sensitivity, and economic efficiency in advance, thereby shortening development times, avoiding faulty planning, and enabling systematic optimization of test parameters.

The working group has lengthy experience in the in-house development of powerful calculating programs for high-frequency transient ultrasonics applications. These applications are available in a module library and can be quickly and efficiently extended and adapted to new test problems and tasks.

Another core focus of the group's work lies in the development and manufacturing of powerful ultrasonic transducers for special applications, such as high-temperature sensors based on lithium niobate, high-frequency aluminum nitride thin-film resonators, and highly sensitive transducers based on piezoelectric single crystals, such as lead magnesium niobate/lead titanate (PMN-PT).

Single resonators, phased array sensors, sound emission transducers, and transmitter-receiver probes are offered as transducer types, which can be adapted to special component geometries. For example, curved transducers for hollow shaft and solid shaft inspections as well as circumferentially printed cylindrical probes for use in heat exchanger channels and pipes with small inner diameters are available.


Services offered


  • Fundamental investigations (specifically for new test approaches)
  • Feasibility studies
  • Test planning and supervision
  • Interpretation of results (for clarification of unclear measurements)
  • System optimization
  • Visualization and imaging
  • Demonstration and training (among other things, didactic introduction to ultrasound physics and ultrasonic NDT via wavefront patterns and animations)
  • Simulation services
  • Development of application-specific simulation tools for customers wishing to perform simulations themselves
  • Supplementation and coupling with commercial solvers (e.g., CIVA, ANSYS, Comsol, etc.)
  • Measurement and characterization of ultrasonic sensors
  • Consulting on application of different probes
  • Development and manufacturing of ultrasonic transducers for special applications
  • Licensing models for industrial clients
  • Collaborative R&D projects with companies and research institutions


Industrial Solutions


Current research

Ultrasound test system of tension-proof crimp connectors on catenaries

Current research

Monitoring of laser narrow-gap weldings of thick-walled components