Current medical diagnostic echo systems are mostly using harmonic imaging. This means that a fundamental frequency (e.g., 2 MHz) is transmitted and the reflected and scattered higher harmonics (e.g., 4 and 6 MHz), produced by nonlinear propagation, are recorded. The signal level of these harmonics is usually low and a well-defined transfer function of the receiving transducer is required. Studying the acoustic response of a single contrast bubble, which has an amplitude in the order of a few Pascal, is another area where an optimal receive transfer function is important. We have developed three methods to determine the absolute transfer function of a transducer. The first is based on a well-defined wave generated by a calibrated source in the far field. The receiving transducer receives the calibrated wave and from this the transfer functions can be calculated. The second and third methods are based on the reciprocity of the transducer. The second utilizes a calibrated hydrophone to measure the transmitted field. In the third method, a pulse is transmitted by the transducer, which impinges on a reflector and is received again by the same transducer. In both methods, the response combined with the transducer impedance and beam profiles enables the calculation of the transfer function. The proposed methods are useful to select the optimal piezoelectric material (PZT, single crystal) for transducers used in reception only, such as in certain 3D scanning designs and superharmonic imaging, and for selected experiments like single bubble behavior. We tested and compared these methods on two unfocused single element transducers, one commercially available (radius 6.35 mm, centre frequency 2.25 MHz) the other custom built (radius 0.75 mm, centre frequency 4.3 MHz). The methods were accurate to within 15%.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Neer, P., Matte, G., Sijl, J., Borsboom, J., & de Jong, N. (2007). Transfer functions of US transducers for harmonic imaging and bubble responses. Ultrasonics, 46(4), 336–340. doi:10.1016/j.ultras.2007.05.002