Development of Dual-Frequency PMUT Arrays Based on Thin Ceramic PZT for Endoscopic Photoacoustic Imaging

This paper presents a dual-frequency piezoelectric micromachined ultrasonic transducer (pMUT) array based on thin ceramic PZT for endoscopic photoacoustic imaging (PAI) applications. With a chip size of 7×7 mm 2 , the pMUT array consists of 256 elements, half of which have a lower resonant frequency of 1.2 MHz and the other half have a higher resonant frequency of 3.4 MHz. Ceramic PZT, with outstanding piezoelectric coefficients, has been successfully thinned down to a thickness of only 4 μm by using wafer bonding and chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) techniques and employed as the piezoelectric layer of the pMUT elements. The diaphragm diameters of the lower-frequency and higher-frequency elements are 220 μm and 120 μm , respectively. The design methodology, multiphysics modeling, fabrication process, and characterization of the pMUTs are presented in detail. The fabricated pMUT array has been fully characterized via electrical, mechanical, and acoustic measurements. The measured maximum responsivities of the lower- and higher- frequency elements reach 110 nm/V and 30 nm/V at their respective resonances. The measured cross-couplings of the lower-frequency elements and higher-frequency elements are about 9% and 5%, respectively. Furthermore, PAI experiments with pencil leads embedded into an agar phantom have been conducted, which clearly shows the advantages of using dual-frequency pMUT arrays to provide comprehensive photoacoustic images with high spatial resolution and large signal-to-noise ratio simultaneously. [2021-0114]

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