The micro-machined ultrasonic transducers market is taking off. Why now?

Ultrasound has a very old history. The ecosystem is mature and there are numerous applications and technologies. As part of this ultrasound industry, the semiconductor technologies supporting MUT1 were developed a long while ago, but the market never responded. However, today the ultrasound sensing market is showing an impressive resurgence: new applications along with improved manufacturing capabilities and advanced technological readiness are driving the impressive growth of micro-machined ultrasonic transducers.


Yole Développement (Yole), the market research and strategy consulting company, has revealed the total ultrasound modules market recorded sales of US$ 2.1 billion in 2017, and expects a significant CAGR2 of 18% between 2017 and 2023. The market in 2023 should reach US$ 5.7 billion.

Yole’s analysts propose today a comprehensive technology and market report dedicated to ultrasound sensing technologies: Ultrasound Sensing Technologies for Medical, Industrial & Consumer Applications report. This analysis provides an in-depth understanding of the ecosystem and its players. It points out the key technical insights and technology trends and related challenges. This report also details the forecast metrics of the ultrasonic transducers.

Micro-machined ultrasonic transducers are finally coming to market: why now?
For decades, micro-machined ultrasonic transducers, either in the form of PMUT3 or CMUT4, have been knocking at the door of mass-markets. “At last, mass-market is about to happen,” confirms Dr. Marjorie Villien, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole. “At Yole we identified four concurrent factors explaining this timing”.

First, applications are pushing for these technologies. Medical ultrasonic imaging will democratize into general practitioners and even homes, thanks to cheaper and smaller probes. In parallel, in consumer applications, ultrasonic fingerprint sensing allows for under-the-display operation, resulting in all-screen smartphones just 10 years after the iPhone removed the keyboard.

Secondly, the technology is ready. “PMUT, which requires a thin, controlled piezoelectric film, has benefited from this technology’s increased usage for inkjet printhead,” explains Dr. Alexis Debray, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole. “Meanwhile, CMUT also requires a delicate manufacturing process with large and thin membranes, in which mechanical stress usually remains.”

Thirdly, several industry players have consistently invested in these technologies, thus readying the supply chain: Hitachi and Philips for CMUT, Fujifilm Dimatix and STMicroelectronics for PMUT, and GlobalFoundries and Silex for both.

Last but not least, assembly is an important part of manufacturing, especially if mass-market is targeted. Companies like Tong Hsing Electronic, Philips, and SilTerra have readied the supply chain. This alignment of favorable factors, similar to an arrangement of fortuitous stars, has set the stage for MUT’s arrival in several applications and markets.

In 2017 the biggest ultrasonic sensing market was park assist with about US$2 billion, followed by automation with more than US$ 550 million the same year. “The impressive growth of the ultrasound sensing modules market is coming from emerging applications; fingerprint and medical,” asserts Jérôme Mouly, Technology & Market Analyst from Yole. And he adds: “Therefore, fingerprint sensing will achieve the biggest growth, and with the integration of PMUT is poised to see the largest changes in terms of technology. From a small market in 2017, fingerprint sensing will reach US$2 billion in five years thanks to its integration into smartphones.”

The medical ultrasound market will also see many changes with the arrival of new products like the US$2,000 Butterfly IQ ultrasound probe. This handheld, low-cost device will reshape medical ultrasound usage, with new customers such as primary care, emergency physicians, and nurses being able to use imaging as an everyday tool. Ultrasound might be the new stethoscope!
To discover a full description of the Ultrasonic report on, MedTech reports section.

New applications along with manufacturing capabilities and technological readiness are driving the takeoff of micro-machined ultrasonic transducers. – Produced Yole Développement (Yole).
Companies cited in the report:
Carestream, Carewell, CEA, Ceramtec, CGM, Chirp Microsystems, Chison, CK Electronic, Clarius Mobile Health, Continental, Cortex Technology, Denso, DTU, Dyson, Egis, Ellipticlabs, Endress Hauser, Esaote, Exact Imaging, Exo Imaging, Fingerprints, FlexEnable, Fraunhofer, Fujifilm, Fujitsu, Fukuda Denshi, GE Healthcare, GlobalFoundries, GlobalMed, Goodix, Healcerion, Hitachi, Holitech, Hologic, HTC, Huawei, Idex, Imasonic, Infineon, Infraredx, iRobot, Isorg, Kaixin, Kejian, Keyence, Kolo Medical, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Lam Research, LG, Lyft, Meggitt, Micralyne, MicroArray, Microsoft, Mindray, Mistras, Mitsubishi Electric, MobiSante, Murata, Neato, Next Biometrics… Full list

Dr. Alexis Debray is a Technology & Market Analyst, Optoelectronics at Yole. After spending 2 years at the University of Tokyo to develop an expertise focused on MEMS technologies, Alexis served as a research engineer at Canon Inc. Alexis is the author of various scientific publications and patents. He graduated from ENSICAEN and holds a PhD in applied acoustics (Caen, France).

Jérôme Mouly serves as a Technology & Market Analyst specialized in microtechnologies for inkjet & bioMEMS sensors, within the Life Sciences & Healthcare division at Yole Développement (Yole). Since 2000, Jérôme has participated in more than 100 marketing and technological analyses for industrial groups, start-ups and institutes related to semiconductor & medical technologies industry. Jérôme holds a Master of Physics from the University of Lyon (France).

Dr. Marjorie Villien, Technology & Market Analyst, Medical Imaging & Biophotonics, is daily exchanging with clinicians, researchers and industrial partners to understand technology issues and ensure the connection between R&D and applications. After spending two years at Harvard, Marjorie served as a research scientist at INSERM in the field of medical imaging for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and cancers. She has spoken in numerous international conferences and has authored or co-authored 11 papers and 1 patent. Marjorie graduated from Grenoble INP and holds a PhD in physics & medical imaging (Grenoble, France)

Founded in 1998, Yole Développement (Yole) has grown to become a group of companies providing marketing, technology and strategy consulting, media and corporate finance services, reverse engineering and reverse costing services and well as IP and patent analysis. With a strong focus on emerging applications using silicon and/or micro manufacturing, the Yole group of companies has expanded to include more than 80 collaborators worldwide covering MEMS & Sensors – Imaging – Medical Technologies – Compound Semiconductors – RF Electronics – Solid State Lighting – Displays – Photonics – Power Electronics – Batteries & Energy Management – Advanced Packaging – Semiconductor Manufacturing – Software & Computing and more…

The “More than Moore” market research, technology and strategy consulting company Yole Développement, along with its partners System Plus Consulting, PISEO and KnowMade, support industrial companies, investors and R&D organizations worldwide to help them understand markets and follow technology trends to grow their business. For more information, visit and follow Yole on LinkedIn and Twitter.

1 MUT: Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducers
2 CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate
3 PMUT : Piezoelectric Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducers
4 CMUT : Capacitive Micro-Machined Ultrasonic Transducers

Contact Information

Yole Développement

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