Intravascular ultrasound is an imaging modality used to visualize atherosclerosis from within the inner lumen of human arteries. Complex lesions like chronic total occlusions require forward-looking intravascular ultrasound (FL-IVUS), instead of the conventional side-looking geometry. Volumetric imaging can be achieved with 2D array transducers, which present major challenges in reducing cable count and device integration. In this work we present an 80-element lead zirconium titanate (PZT) matrix ultrasound transducer for FL-IVUS imaging with a front-end application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) requiring only 4 cables. After investigating optimal transducer designs we fabricated the matrix transducer consisting of 16 transmit (TX) and 64 receive (RX) elements arranged on top of an ASIC having an outer diameter of 1.5 mm and a central hole of 0.5 mm for a guidewire. We modeled the transducer using finite element analysis and compared the simulation results to the values obtained through acoustic measurements. The TX elements showed uniform behavior with a center frequency of 14 MHz, a -3 dB bandwidth of 44 % and a transmit sensitivity of 0.4 kPa/V at 6 mm. The RX elements showed center frequency and bandwidth similar to the TX elements, with an estimated receive sensitivity of 3.7 μV/Pa. We successfully acquired a 3D FL image of three spherical reflectors in water using delay-and-sum beamforming and the coherence factor method. Full synthetic aperture acquisition can be achieved with frame rates on the order of 100 Hz. The acoustic characterization and the initial imaging results show the potential of the proposed transducer to achieve 3D FL-IVUS imaging.

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Keywords Forward-looking, Front-end ASIC, Intravascular Ultrasound, piezo-electrical transducer
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Journal I E E E Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control
Janjic, J, Tan, M, Daeichin, V, Noothout, E, Chen, C, Chen, Z, … de Jong, N. (2018). A 2D Ultrasound Transducer with Front-End ASIC and Low Cable Count for 3D Forward-Looking Intravascular Imaging: Performance and Characterization. I E E E Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control. doi:10.1109/TUFFC.2018.2859824