Commercially available intracardiac echo (ICE) catheters face a trade-off between viewing depth and resolution. Frequency-tunable ICE probes would offer versatility of choice between penetration or resolution imaging within a single device. In this phantom study, the imaging performance of a novel, frequency-tunable, 32-element, 1-D CMUT array integrated with front-end electronics is evaluated. Phased-array ultrasound imaging with a forward-looking CMUT probe prototype operated beyond collapse mode at voltages up to three times higher than the collapse voltage (-65 V) is demonstrated. Imaging performance as a function of bias voltage (-70 V to -160 V), transmit pulse frequency (5–25 MHz), and number of transmit pulse cycles (1–3) is quantified, based on which penetration, resolution, and generic imaging modes are identified. It is shown that by utilizing the concept of frequency tuning, images with different characteristics can be generated trading-off the resolution and penetration depth. The penetration mode provides imaging up to 71 mm in the tissue-mimicking phantom, axial resolution of 0.44 mm, and lateral resolution of 0.12 rad. In the resolution mode, axial resolution of 0.055 mm, lateral resolution of 0.035 rad, and penetration depth of 16 mm are measured. These results show what this CMUT array has the potential versatile characteristics needed for intracardiac imaging, despite its relatively small transducer aperture size of 2 mm × 2 mm imposed by the clinical application.

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Keywords Capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducer, Deep-collapse mode, Intracardiac, Medical imaging, Multi-frequency
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Journal Ultrasonics
Pekař, M, Mihajlović, N. (Nenad), Belt, H. (Harm), Kolen, A.F. (Alexander F.), Van Rens, J, Budzelaar, F. (Frank), … van der Steen, A.F.W. (Antonius F.W.). (2018). Quantitative imaging performance of frequency-tunable capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducer array designed for intracardiac application: Phantom study. Ultrasonics, 84, 421–429. doi:10.1016/j.ultras.2017.11.021