A capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducer (CMUT) array for minimally invasive medical diagnosis has been developed. Unlike traditional ultrasonic transducers, which generally use a bulky piece of substrate, this transducer array was integrated on a 40-μ-thick micromachined silicon substrate into a probe shape with a typical shank width of 50-80 μm and a shank length of 4-8 mm. For 1-D arrays, 24-96 CMUT devices were integrated on one such silicon probe and formed an accurately configured phase array. In addition to miniaturization, reduction of the substrate thickness also decreases the intertransducer crosstalk due to substrate Lamb waves. Due to its miniature size, this array can be placed or implanted close to the target tissue/organ and can perform high-resolution high-precision diagnosis and stimulation using high-frequency ultrasounds. The issue of conflict between resolution and penetration depth of ultrasonic diagnosis can therefore be resolved. A two-layer polysilicon surface micromachining process was used to fabricate this device. Suspended polysilicon membranes of diameters ranging from 20 to 90 μms and thicknesses from 1.0 to 2.5 μm were used to generate and detect ultrasounds of frequencies ranging from 1 to 10 MHz. B-mode imaging using this transducer array has been demonstrated.
- Acoustic devices
- Acoustic transducers