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Ultrasonic Transducers

Transducers Piezoelectric Effect Piezoelectric Materials Ultrasonic Transducers Tansducer Arrays


Linear Curvilinear Phased

Ultrasonic Transducers
Carlos Vinhais, PhD cvinhais@gmail.com Deptarment of Physics ISEP Institute of Engineering of Porto IMAME 2009/2010

Ultrasound Beam Properties Near Field and Far Field Spatial Resolution
Axial Lateral Slice thickness

Beam formation
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Transducers
Ultrasound is produced and detected with a transducer, composed of one or more ceramic elements with electromechanical (piezoelectric) properties The ceramic piezoelectric element converts:
electrical energy into mechanical energy to produce ultrasonic waves mechanical energy into electrical energy for ultrasonic wave detection

Piezoelectric Effect
The piezoelectric effect was discovered by French physicists Pierre and Jacques Curie in 1880 The piezoelectric (pressure-electric) effect is a phenomenon in which a material, upon the application of an electrical field, changes its physical dimensions and vice versa

IMAME 2009/2010

Carlos Vinhais, PhD

IMAME 2009/2010

Carlos Vinhais, PhD

Piezoelectric Effect
direct and reverse piezoelectric effects

Piezoelectric Materials
The most popular material is a polycrystalline ferroelectric ceramic material (synthetic):
lead zirconate titanate, Pb(Zr, Ti)O3, or PZT which possesses very strong piezoelectric properties following polarization

Piezoelectric properties of PZT can be enhanced by doping. As a result, many types of PZT are commercially available Materials that have been also used:

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Quartz crystal Barium titanate (BaTiO3) Lead metaniobate (PbNb2O6) Lithium niobate (LiNbO3)
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IMAME 2009/2010

Piezoelectric Materials
Electromechanical coupling coefficient

Ultrasonic Transducers
Piezoelectric crystals (PC) have a well defined molecular arrangement of electrical dipoles Ultrasound transducers employ a synthetic piezoelectric ceramic, leadzirconate-titanate (PZT) Mechanical pressure applied to the PC surface creates an electric potential difference across crystal faces

IMAME 2009/2010

Carlos Vinhais, PhD

IMAME 2009/2010

Carlos Vinhais, PhD

Ultrasonic Transducers
Conversely, a PC converts electrical energy into mechanical (vibrational) energy through physical deformation of the crystal structure PC used both as a transmitter and receiver of ultrasonic waves
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Resonance Transducers
Pulse echo ultrasound imaging: Resonance mode
Voltage is applied during a very short duration (~150 V, ~1 s) Piezoelectric material initially contracts and vibrates at a natural resonance frequency

The resonance frequency is determined by the thickness of the crystal (the dimension of the crystal along the axis of the ultrasound beam)
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Resonance Frequency
most efficient operation is achieved for a crystal with a thickness equal to half the wavelength of the desired ultrasound Natural resonant frequency
f = c

Damping Block

0 = 2t

f0 =

c 2t

Damping block layered on the back of the PC


absorbs the backward directed ultrasound energy and attenuates ultrasound signals from the housing Dampens the transducer vibration to produces a short spatial pulse length (SPL) and preserve detail along the beam axis (axial resolution) ring-down

Higher frequencies are achieved with thinner elements and lower frequencies with thick elements Resonance transducers transmit and receive preferentially at a single center frequency

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Q-factor

Q-factor
High Q transducer long wave train with a narrow frequency range Low Q transducer short wave packet with a wide frequency range
Imaging applications require broad bandwidth transducer to preserve detail along beam Blood velocity measurements require narrow bandwidth to preserve velocity information

Damping the transducer vibration (ring-down) lessens the frequency purity and introduces a broadband frequency spectrum (increase in the bandwidth or range of frequencies) Q factor:
Q= f0 bandwidth
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Carlos Vinhais, PhD

Matching Layer
A matching layer provides the interface between the PC material and tissue (patient) and minimizes acoustic impedance mismatches The material has acoustic properties intermediate to soft tissue and the PC material A coupling gel is used to eliminate air bubbles which would cause signal loss

Matching Layer
Matching layer thickness
tmatching =

1
4

Ideal impedance of the coupling medium


Z matching = Z element Z tssue

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Nonresonance (Broad-bandwidth) Multifrequency Transducers


Greater transmission efficiency of the US beam without resorting to multiple matching layers Bandwidth exceeds 80 % of the center frequency The broad bandwidth response permits the reception of echoes within a wide range of frequencies

Tansducer Arrays
Transducers come with many individual piezoelectric elements arranged in linear or curvilinear arrays Tipically 256 to 512 elements compose the transducer assembly:
Width less than wavelength Height of several mm

Modes of activation to produce a beam:


US can be produced at low frequencies and the echoes recieved at higher frequencies

Linear sequential Phased

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Linear/Curvilinear Array Transducers


Simultaneous firing of a small group of ~ 20 adjacent elements produces the ultrasound beam Field of view is rectangular (linear array) or trapezoidal (curvilinear array)

Phased Array Transducers


64 to 128 elements All active during imaging

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Beam Formation
Scanning (Plane wavefront)
Excitation of a group of tiny elements that act as a Huygens sources US beam may be translated by exciting a different overlapping group

Clinical Transducers
Low frequency transducers have better tissue penetration Transducers used for abdominal imaging are generally in the 2.5 to 5 MHz range Specialized high-resolution and shallow-penetration probes (8 to 20 MHz) have been developed for studying the eye In infants, 3.5 to 7 MHz transducers are used for echoencephalography Endovaginal transducers pelvic region and fetus Endorectal transducers prostate, Transesophageal transducers heart, Intravascular transducers blood vessels

Use of variable time delays for steering or focusing the US beam electronically
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Ultrasound Beam Properties

Near Field and Far Field


Near (parallel) Field
Fresnel zone adjacent to the transducer face converging beam profile

Far field
Fraunhofer zone where the beam diverges Intensity decreases monotonically with distance
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Near Field and Far Field


Near (parallel) Field
Near field length = d 2 r2 = 4

Focused Transducers
A focused single element transducer uses either a curved element or an acoustic lens
Reduce beam width All diagnostic transducers are focused Focal zone is the region over which the beam is focused A focal zone describes the region of best lateral resolution
Unfocused transducer

d = transducer diameter r = transducer radius

Beam divergence
sin = 1.22

focused transducer

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Side and Grating Lobes


Side and grating lobes are off-axis energy emissions of ultrasound beam produced by linear and phased array transducers
Side lobes are forward directed Grating lobes emitted at very large angles

Spatial Resolution
Resolution ability of resolving an object in the image (resolvability) Spatial resolution has 3 distinct measures:
Axial Lateral Slice thickness (elevational)

Caused by the radial expansion and contraction of the transducer element during thickness contraction and expansion Echoes received from side lobes are mapped into the main beam, causing artifacts
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These measures determine the minimal volume element

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Spatial Resolution: Axial


Axial resolution (linear, range, longitudinal or depth resolution) is the ability to separate two objects lying along the axis of the beam The minimal required separation distance between two boundaries is SPL (about ) to avoid overlap of returning echoes Higher frequencies reduce SPL, improving axial resolution however, increases attenuation Axial resolution remains constant with depth
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Spatial Resolution: Lateral


Lateral resolution - the ability to resolve adjacent objects perpendicular to the beam direction and is determined by the beam width and line density Typical lateral resolution (unfocused) is 2 - 5 mm, and is depth dependent Single focused transducers restrain the beam to within narrow lateral dimensions at a specified depth using lenses at the transducer face
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Spatial Resolution: Slice thickness


Elevational resolution is dependent on the transducer element height Perpendicular to the image plane Use of a fixed focal length lens across the entire surface of the array provides improved elevational resolution at the focal distance, however partial volume effects before and after focal zone

End of Lecture!

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