1-3 connectivity piezoelectric ceramic-polymer composite transducers made with viscous polymer processing for high frequency ultrasound

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Colleges, School and Institutes


Potential applications of high frequency ultrasound exist because of the high spatial resolution consequent upon short wavelength. The frequencies of interest, typically from 25 MHz upwards, are easily supported by modern instrumentation but the capabilities of ultrasonic transducers have not kept pace and the transducers in high frequency commercial ultrasonic systems are still made with single-phase crystal, ceramic or piezopolymer materials. Despite potential performance advantages, the 1-3 connectivity piezoelectric ceramic-polymer composite materials now widely used at lower ultrasonic frequencies have not been adopted because of manufacturing difficulties. These difficulties are centred on fabrication of the 1-3 piezoceramic bristle-block comprising tall, thin pillars upstanding from a supporting stock. Fabrication techniques which have been explored already include injection moulding, mechanical dicing, and laser machining. Here, we describe an alternative technique based on viscous polymer processing (VPP) to produce net shape ceramic bristle-blocks. VPP produces green-state ceramic with rheological properties suitable for embossing. We outline how this can be created then report on our work to fabricate PZT bristle-blocks with lateral pillar dimensions of the order of 50 microm and height-to-width ratios of the order of 10. These have been backfilled with low pre-cure viscosity polymer and made into complete 1-3 piezocomposite transducer elements. We outline the performance of the transducers in terms of electrical impedance and pulse-echo behaviour and show that it corresponds well with computer modelling. We conclude that VPP is a promising technique to allow the established advantages of piezocomposite material to be exploited at higher frequencies than have been possible so far.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-484
Number of pages6
Issue number1-9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2004