The information in an ultrasound image depends on the frequency that is used. In a clinical examination it may therefore be beneficial to generate ultrasound images acquired at multiple frequencies, which is difficult to achieve with conventional transducers. Capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers (CMUTs) offer a frequency response that is tunable by the bias voltage. In this study we investigate this frequency tunability for ultrasonic imaging. We characterized a CMUT array operated at bias voltages up to three times higher than the collapse-voltage. All elements of the array were connected to a single transmit and receive channel through a bias circuit. We quantified the transmit-receive and transmit sensitivity as a function of frequency for a range of bias voltages. Impulse response measurements show that the center frequency is modifiable between 8.7 MHz and 15.3 MHz with an applied bias voltage of −50 V to −170 V. The maximum transmit sensitivity is 52 kPa/V at a center frequency of 9.0 MHz with an applied bias voltage of −105 V. The −3 dB transmit range in center frequency accessible with the variable bias voltage is 6.7–15.5 MHz. This study shows that a collapse-mode CMUT can operate efficiently at multiple center frequencies when the driving pulse and the bias voltage are optimized. We demonstrate the usefulness of frequency tuning by comparing images at different optimal combinations of driving frequency and bias voltage, acquired by linearly moving the transducer across a tissue mimicking phantom.

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Keywords Capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducer, CMUT, Collapse mode, Deep-collapse mode, Frequency tuning, Imaging, Intracardiac, Multi-frequency, Ultrasound
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Journal Ultrasonics
Pekař, M, Dittmer, W.U. (Wendy U.), Mihajlović, N. (Nenad), van Soest, G, & de Jong, N. (2017). Frequency Tuning of Collapse-Mode Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducer. Ultrasonics, 74, 144–152. doi:10.1016/j.ultras.2016.10.002