High-frequency ultrasound is needed for medical imaging with high spatial resolution. A key issue in the development of ultrasound imaging arrays to operate at high frequencies (>= 30 MHz) is the need for photolithographic patterning of array electrodes. To achieve this directly on 1-3 piezocomposite, the material requires not only planar, parallel, and smooth surfaces, but also an epoxy composite filler that is resistant to chemicals, heat, and vacuum. This paper reports, first, on the surface finishing of 1-3 piezocomposite materials by lapping and polishing. Excellent surface flatness has been obtained, with an average surface roughness of materials as low as 3 nm and step heights between ceramic/polymer of similar to 80 nm. Subsequently, high-frequency array elements were patterned directly on top of these surfaces using a photolithography process. A 30-MHz linear array electrode pattern with 50-mu m element pitch has been patterned on the lapped and polished surface of a high-frequency 1-3 piezocomposite. Excellent electrode edge definition and electrical contact to the composite were obtained. The composite has been lapped to a final thickness of similar to 55 mu m. Good adhesion of electrodes on the piezocomposite has been achieved and electrical impedance measurements have demonstrated their basic functionality. The array was then packaged, and acoustic pulse-echo measurements were performed. These results demonstrate that direct patterning of electrodes by photolithography on 1-3 piezocomposite is feasible for fabrication of high-frequency ultrasound arrays. Furthermore, this method is more conducive to mass production than other reported array fabrication techniques.
|Journal||IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2012|