Implementation of a PMN-PT piezocrystal-based focused array with geodesic faceted structure

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Qiu, Zhen ; Qiu, Yongqiang ; Demore, Christine E.M. ; Cochran, Sandy (2016)

The higher performance of relaxor-based piezocrystals compared with piezoceramics is now well established, notably including improved gain-bandwidth product, and these materials have been adopted widely for biomedical ultrasound imaging. However, their use in other applications, for example as a source of focused ultrasound for targeted drug delivery, is hindered in several ways. One of the issues, which we consider here, is in shaping the material into the spherical geometries used widely in focused ultrasound. Unlike isotropic unpoled piezoceramics that can be shaped into a monolithic bowl then poled through the thickness, the anisotropic structure of piezocrystals make it impossible to machine the bulk crystalline material into a bowl without sacrificing performance. Instead, we report a novel faceted array, inspired by the geodesic dome structure in architecture, which utilizes flat piezocrystal material and maximizes fill factor. Aided by 3D printing, a prototype with f# ≈ 1.2, containing 96 individually addressable elements was manufactured using 1-3 connectivity PMN-PT piezocrystal - epoxy composite. The fabrication process is presented and the array was connected to a 32-channel controller to shape and steer the beam for preliminary performance demonstration. At an operating frequency of 1 MHz, a focusing gain around 30 was achieved and the side lobe intensities were all at levels below -12 dB compared to main beam. We conclude that, by taking advantage of contemporary fabrication techniques and driving instrumentation, the geodesic array configuration is suitable for focused ultrasound devices made with piezocrystal.
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