Piezoelectric Micromachined Ultrasound Transducers for Medical Imaging
Piezoelectric micromachined ultrasound transducer (pMUT) two-dimensional (2D) arrays have been proposed as an alternative to conventional bulk-PZT thickness-mode transducers for high frequency, forward-looking, catheter-based ultrasound imaging of the cardiovascular system. The appeal of pMUTs is based on several key advantages over conventional transducer technologies, including high operational frequencies, small element size, and low cost due to their microelectromechanical system (MEMS) silicon-based fabrication. While previous studies have demonstrated acoustic performance characteristics suitable for ultrasound image formation, pulse-echo B-mode imaging of tissue and tissue-like phantoms using 2D pMUT arrays small enough for forward-looking catheter-based applications have been demonstrated only at Duke University by Dausch et al.
Having demonstrated the suitability of 2D pMUT arrays for tissue imaging, an important step is to demonstrate effective design control. The frequency of operation is a fundamental component of transducer design. Previous modeling efforts for pMUT vibration have used classical/Kirchoff thin plate theory (CPT) or Mindlin thick plate theory, however pMUTs with geometric dimensions similar to those explored here, have not been modeled with experimental comparison to physical devices.
It is hypothesized that the frequency of vibration of pMUTs can be predictively modeled based on experimental data from various pMUT configurations. Experimental frequency results were acquired and used to develop an empirical model based on a modified Mindlin thick plate theory. This dissertation presents the development of the frequency design theory culminating in a set of predictive design equations for the frequency of vibration of 2D pMUT arrays aimed at improving their use in high-frequency, forward-looking, catheter-based ultrasound imaging applications.
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