Gerald J. Posakony’s contributions to ultrasonics enabled the technology to move from curiosity to an important tool for medical diagnosis and nondestructive evaluation. In the early 1950s he was the lead engineer on an ultrasonic diagnostic imaging system for investigating disease processes in the human body. The device was considered experimental at the time, but the technology served as the basis for most of the ultrasonic devices in use today.
Mr. Posakony’s expertise in transducer design, the “critical component” of an ultrasound system, is highly sought after, as he understands the materials, their limitations and capabilities and the circuits and systems needed to excite the transducers and measure and display the data. For nondestructive evaluation, he has found solutions to problems where there was no standard test method available and developed the needed ultrasonic technology.
He created a program for the Electric Power Research Institute to conduct inspections of nuclear power plant components using an ultrasonic phased array system. The system needed to be built from scratch, and Posakony designed, fabricated and tested the phased arrays. He also developed a transducer to test for aging in the Sparrow solid rocket motor, enabling the U.S national inventory to be screened and aged motors to be identified and removed, avoiding possible failures and improving overall safety.
Mr. Posakony is currently a senior research scientist in advanced ultrasonic wave propagation and sonochemistry at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where he continues to work on designing and testing novel methods for delivery of high-power ultrasonic fields for treating cells and processing fluid streams.