Intravascular photoacoustic (IVPA) imaging can visualize the coronary atherosclerotic plaque composition on the basis of the optical absorption contrast. Most of the photoacoustic (PA) energy of human coronary plaque lipids was found to lie in the frequency band between 2 and 15 MHz requiring a very broadband transducer, especially if a combination with intravascular ultrasound is desired. We have developed a broadband polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) transducer (0.6 × 0.6 mm, 52 μm thick) with integrated electronics to match the low capacitance of such a small polyvinylidene difluoride element (<5 pF/mm2) with the high capacitive load of the long cable (∼100 pF/m). The new readout circuit provides an output voltage with a sensitivity of about 3.8 μV/Pa at 2.25 MHz. Its response is flat within 10 dB in the range 2 to 15 MHz. The root mean square (rms) output noise level is 259 μV over the entire bandwidth (1-20 MHz), resulting in a minimum detectable pressure of 30 Pa at 2.25 MHz.

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Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology
Department of Biomedical Engineering

Daeichin, V, Chen, C, Ding, Q, Wu, M, Beurskens, R, Springeling, T, … van Soest, G. (2016). A Broadband Polyvinylidene Difluoride-Based Hydrophone with Integrated Readout Circuit for Intravascular Photoacoustic Imaging. Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology, 42(5), 1239–1243. doi:10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2015.12.016