In medical ultrasound transducer design, the geometry of the individual elements is crucial since it affects the vibration mode of each element and its radiation impedance. For a fixed frequency, optimal vibration (i.e., uniform surface motion) can be achieved by designing elements with very small width-to-thickness ratios. However, for optimal radiation impedance (i.e., highest radiated power), the width should be as large as possible. This leads to a contradiction that can be solved by subdicing wide elements. To systematically examine the effect of subdicing on the performance of a 1-D ultrasound transducer array, we applied finite-element simulations. We investigated the influence of subdicing on the radiation impedance, on the time and frequency response, and on the directivity of linear arrays with variable element widths. We also studied the effect of varying the depth of the subdicing cut. The results show that, for elements having a width greater than 0.6 times the wavelength, subdicing improves the performance compared with that of nonsubdiced elements: the emitted pressure may be increased up to a factor of three, the ringing time may be reduced by up to 50%, the bandwidth increased by up to 77%, and the sidelobes reduced by up to 13 dB. Moreover, this simulation study shows that all these improvements can already be achieved by subdicing the elements to a depth of 70% of the total element thickness. Thus, subdicing can improve important transducer parameters and, therefore, help in achieving images with improved signal-to-noise ratio and improved resolution.

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I E E E Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control
Department of Biomedical Engineering

Janjic, J., Shabanimotlagh, M., van Soest, G., van der Steen, T., de Jong, N., & Verweij, M. (2016). Improving the performance of a 1-D ultrasound transducer array by subdicing. I E E E Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, 63(8), 1161–1171. doi:10.1109/TUFFC.2016.2561935