Volumetric ultrasound Imaging using 2-D CMUT arrays

Oralkan O., ERGUN A., CHENG C., JOHNSON J., Karaman M., LEE T., ...More

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ULTRASONICS FERROELECTRICS AND FREQUENCY CONTROL, vol.50, no.11, pp.1581-1594, 2003 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


Recently, capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers (CMUTs) have emerged as a candidate to overcome the difficulties in the realization of 2-D arrays for real-time 3-D imaging. In this paper, we present the first volumetric images obtained using a 2-D CMUT array. We have fabricated a 128 x 128-element 2-D CMUT array with through-wafer via interconnects and a 420-mum element pitch. As an experimental prototype, a 32 x 64-element portion of the 128 X 128-element array was diced and flip-chip bonded onto a glass fanout chip. This chip provides individual leads from a central 16 X 16-element portion of the array to surrounding bondpads. An 8 x 16-element poition of the array was used in the experiments along with a 128-channel data acquisition system. For imaging phantoms, we used a 2.37-mm diameter steel sphere located 10 mm from the array center and two 12-mm-thick Plexiglas plates located 20 mm and 60 mm from the array. A 4 X 4 group of elements in the middle of the 8 X 16-element array was used in transmit, and the remaining elements were used to receive the echo signals. The echo signal obtained from the spherical target presented a frequency spectrum centered at 4.37 MHz with a 100% fractional bandwidth, whereas the frequency spectrum for the echo signal from the parallel plate phantom was centered at 3.44 MHz with a 91% fractional bandwidth. The images were reconstructed by using RF beamforming and synthetic phased array approaches and visualized by surface rendering and multiplanar slicing techniques. The image of the spherical target has been used to approximate the point spread function of the system and is compared with theoretical expectations. This study experimentally demonstrates that 2-D CMUT arrays can be fabricated with high yield using silicon IC-fabrication processes, individual electrical connections can be provided using through-wafer vias, and flip-chip bonding can be used to integrate these dense 2-D arrays with electronic circuits for practical 3-D imaging applications.