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DESCRIPTION JP2002027593

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DESCRIPTION JP2002027593
[0001]
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to an
ultrasonic probe for use in an ultrasonic imaging apparatus, and more particularly to an
ultrasonic probe in which ultrasonic transducer elements are two-dimensionally arrayed.
[0002]
2. Description of the Related Art In an ultrasonic transducer in an ultrasonic imaging apparatus,
electrodes are attached to the front surface of a piezoelectric body and the back surface opposite
thereto, one of the electrodes is a signal electrode, and the other is a ground electrode. By
applying a pulse-like voltage to the electrodes, a thickness vibration is generated in the
piezoelectric body, and this vibration is used for ultrasonic wave transmission. Conversely, the
energy of the ultrasonic wave that has reached the transducer surface from within the object is
converted into a voltage by the piezoelectric body to detect an echo signal.
[0003]
By the way, in recent years, in the field of medical image diagnosis, three-dimensional imaging of
the inside of a subject using an X-ray CT apparatus or an MRI apparatus has come to be often
performed. It is also demanded in the field of ultrasound diagnosis.
[0004]
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1
In order to obtain a three-dimensional image of an object by an ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus,
it is necessary to three-dimensionally scan an ultrasonic beam on the object.
Conventional ultrasonic probes often use a one-dimensional array probe in which ultrasonic
transducers are arranged in a single row, and this one-dimensional array probe is manually or
mechanically applied to an object. It is possible to do three dimensional scanning by translating
to. However, the method of moving the probe manually causes an error in the scanning speed
and the scanning direction due to the hand movement of the operator, and the method of
mechanically moving the probe causes the surface of the object to be uneven. There is a problem
that the diagnosis site is extremely limited.
[0005]
In order to solve these problems, research and development of a two-dimensional array probe in
which transducers are two-dimensionally arranged has been advanced.
[0006]
The ultrasonic probe is disposed in close contact with the above-mentioned transducer on the
ultrasonic wave absorbing material in the back direction of the transducer called backing
material.
In the conventional one-dimensional array probe, a method is adopted in which the signal lines to
the signal electrode and the ground electrode are drawn out along the side surface of the
vibrator and the side surface of the backing material. For the two-dimensional array probe,
technical proposals have been made to adopt a method similar to this. For example, in a twodimensional array transducer having as many as 64 × 64 = 4,096 transducers, the signal lines of
the transducers located inside the array of the transducers located at the outermost periphery
are pulled out to the outside For this purpose, there is a method of sandwiching a multilayer
printed circuit board on which signal lines are printed between the back surface of the vibrator
and the backing material, and connecting electrodes to contacts provided on the printed circuit
board.
[0007]
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2
However, in the above-mentioned prior art, that is, in the method of sandwiching the multilayer
printed circuit board between the vibrator and the backing material, when the vibrator is driven,
the super radiated to the rear of the vibrator is generated. The sound wave is reflected by the
printed circuit board and is phase-shifted with respect to the ultrasonic wave for image
acquisition transmitted into the object and emitted so as to follow the latter, resulting in the
deterioration of the image quality of the image to be used for diagnosis. Is concerned. An object
of the present invention is to provide a two-dimensional probe which does not cause
deterioration in image quality due to an ultrasonic wave emitted to the rear of a transducer, in
view of the problems of the above-mentioned prior art.
[0008]
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In order to achieve the above object, the present invention
provides an ultrasonic probe having a two-dimensional array ultrasonic transducer in which a
plurality of transducer elements are arranged in a two-dimensional matrix. In the piezoelectric
transducer, each transducer element is provided on an electrode provided on the surface of the
piezoelectric body facing the backing material and on the ultrasonic radiation surface of the
piezoelectric body, and at least a part of the element is extended on the surface facing the
backing material It is characterized in that the signal line and the ground line embedded in the
inside of the backing material are connected to the two electrodes of the respective transducer
elements.
[0009]
BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION An embodiment of the present invention will
be described below based on the drawings.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a transducer portion of a two-dimensional probe in the present
embodiment. In FIG. 1, 1 is a backing material, 2 is a transducer element, and 3 is an acoustic
matching layer laminated on the transducer element 2. The transducer elements 2 are arranged
in two orthogonal directions, ie, in the X direction and the Y direction shown in FIG. 1, for
example, 64 pieces each, ie 64 × 64 = 4,096 pieces, in one matrix The ultrasonic wave
transmitting / receiving surface has an area of about 0.2 mm × 0.2 mm. A printed circuit board
4 is printed with a pattern connected to signal lines of transducer elements embedded in the
backing material 1. A signal line from the ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus main body is connected
to the printed pattern of the printed circuit board through a connector or by soldering. The
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3
internal configuration of the above-described transducer portion will be described in detail next.
[0010]
Next, FIG. 2 shows a longitudinal sectional view in one direction of the vibrator portion shown in
FIG. As shown in FIG. 2, the vibrator element 2 is fixed to the piezoelectric member 2a, the
ground electrode 2b fixed to the surface on the acoustic matching layer 3 side of the
piezoelectric member 2a, and the surface on the backing member 1 side of the piezoelectric
member 2a. And the signal electrode 2c. The ground electrode 2b is provided to extend through
one side surface of the piezoelectric body 2a to the surface to which the signal electrode 2c is
fixed. This configuration is applied to all transducer elements.
[0011]
On the upper surface of the transducer element 2, ie, the surface to which the ground electrode
2b is fixed (the surface in the ultrasonic radiation direction), a known acoustic matching layer 3,
for example, when the wavelength of ultrasonic waves is λ, A layer or layers having a thickness
of λ / 4 are fixed.
[0012]
The lower surface of the transducer element 2, that is, the surface to which the signal electrode
2c is fixed (the surface facing the ultrasonic radiation direction) is fixed to the backing material 1,
and the signal electrode is formed inside the backing material 1. A signal line 5 for supplying a
signal to 2c and a ground line 6 connected to the ground electrode 2b are embedded.
[0013]
A printed circuit board 4 is fixed to the lower surface of the backing material 1.
The printed circuit board 4 has printed thereon the wiring patterns connected to the signal lines
5 connected to the respective transducer elements 2 and the ground lines 6, and as shown in FIG.
The signal line and the ground line are connected.
[0014]
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4
A probe cable provided with a connector for connection to the ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus
main body is connected to one end of the transducer portion described above with reference to
FIGS. 1 and 2 at one end thereof, and the transducer The unit is housed in a case, and an
ultrasonic probe as a unit is assembled.
[0015]
Next, a method of manufacturing the above probe portion will be described with reference to the
drawings.
FIG. 3 shows a method of manufacturing the backing material 1.
In FIG. 3, two types of spacers 31 and 32 are prepared to manufacture a backing material. The
spacers 31 and 32 have a plate shape, and the spacers are hollowed at their central portions, and
notches 311 and 312 form a pair at the illustrated upper edge of the spacer 31 and the lower
edge opposite thereto. A plurality of sets at a first predetermined pitch, that is, the first
arrangement number of transducer elements are processed. Here, the predetermined pitch is the
same value as the arrangement pitch interval in the first direction of the transducer elements
arranged on the backing material. Further, the thickness of the spacer 31 is a value obtained by
adding the diameter of one of the fine conductive wires wound around the spacer 31 to the
thickness of the spacer 31 is equal to the arrangement pitch of the transducer elements in the
second direction. . A fine wire serving as the signal line 5 shown in FIG. 2 is wound around the
notch groove 311 of the spacer 31, and a fine wire serving as the ground wire 6 similarly shown
in FIG. 2 is wound around the notch groove 312. This winding is repeated. In this case, in the
case where the signal wire 5 and the ground wire 6 may use the same wire, the same fine
conductive wire may be wound sequentially on all the notch grooves. The spacers 31 provided
with the windings are prepared by a half of the number of arrangement of the transducer
elements in the second direction. In the spacer 32, a value obtained by adding one diameter of
the fine conducting wire wound around the spacer 31 to its thickness is equal to the
arrangement pitch of the transducer elements in the second direction. That is, the thicknesses of
the spacer 31 and the spacer 32 are made equal. The spacer 32 is prepared one more than the
spacer 31 so that the conductive wire wound around the spacer 31 is embedded in the backing
material.
[0016]
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Next, the spacers 32 and the spacers 31 provided with windings are alternately stacked, and
fixed so that the spacers 32 are placed at both ends. As a result, all the conductive wires wound
around the spacer 31 are arranged at a predetermined pitch inside the hollow hole of the block
in which the spacer 31 and the spacer 32 are overlapped.
[0017]
Next, a liquid backing material is poured into the hollow hole of the block so that no air bubbles
are left inside the hollow hole. Then, the backing material is left to solidify, and when the backing
material is solidified, both end portions of the block on which the spacer 31 and the spacer 32
are superimposed are cut out by machining to take out only a predetermined dimension portion
of the central portion. Then, if necessary, the backing material surface other than the machined
surface is processed and finished to a predetermined size. Thereby, the backing material 1 shown
in FIG. 1 is completed.
[0018]
Next, an example of a method of manufacturing the transducer element fixed on the backing
material 1 will be described. In FIG. 4, 2A is a piezoelectric material having a predetermined
thickness and width, which is formed into an elongated rod shape by molding or by cutting a
plate-like material having a predetermined thickness, 2B is a ground electrode, a piezoelectric
material From a conductive film in which a conductive paste is fixed by coating or printing on a
part of the upper surface (the surface on which the main ground electrode is provided) and the
side surface and the lower surface (the surface connecting the ground electrode and the ground
line) Become. Reference numeral 2C denotes a signal electrode, and a predetermined distance is
provided between the ground electrode 2B and the lower surface of the piezoelectric material in
which the ground electrode 2B is only partially provided, and conductive paste is similarly fixed
to the piezoelectric material by application or printing. It consists of a conductive film.
[0019]
An acoustic matching layer 3A having a width substantially the same as the width of the vibrator
is fixed on the main ground electrode of such a vibrator element block.
[0020]
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Next, the transducer element block shown in FIG. 4 is fixed on the backing material 1.
At the time of this fixing, the vibrator block is heated, and the vibrator element block is pressurewelded to a predetermined position of the backing material 1 when the conductive film is in a
semi-molten state. At this time, the signal electrode 2C and the ground electrode 2B are
connected to the signal line 5 exposed to the surface of the backing material 1 and the ground
line 6 by the pressure applied between the transducer element block and the backing material 1
respectively. Ru. Hereinafter, in the same manner, a predetermined number of transducer
element blocks are fixed to the backing material 1. Through the above steps, as shown in FIG. 5, a
block is completed in which an elongated vibrator is fixed on the backing material 1 in one
direction, for example, the X direction at a predetermined mounting pitch.
[0021]
When the transducer elements are fixed in an array on the backing material 1 in this manner, it
is confirmed that the conductive film is completely solidified, and then the array direction of the
transducer element blocks ( Using a dicing saw of a predetermined thickness in the direction (Y
direction) orthogonal to the X direction), cut grooves are formed at predetermined pitch
intervals. As a result, as shown in FIG. 6, a two-dimensional array transducer is formed on the
backing material 1.
[0022]
Next, when the printed circuit board 4 is fixed to the surface of the backing material 1 opposite
to the surface on which the two-dimensional transducer is provided, the main block of the twodimensional probe shown in FIG. 1 is completed. . As a method of fixing the printed circuit board
4, a method of fixing the transducer element block and the backing material 1 can be used.
[0023]
Next, the probe cable is connected to the printed circuit board 4 and then the probe case is
attached to complete the two-dimensional probe.
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[0024]
While one embodiment of the present invention has been described above, various modifications
can be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.
For example, although the signal line and the ground line embedded in the backing material are
arranged individually one by one in the above embodiment, a shield line is used for the signal
line and the ground line of one vibrator, and the core line is the signal line , Shield can be
connected to the ground wire. In this case, since it is necessary to separate the core wire and the
shield, the dimensions of the hollow portion of the block to be wound and the spacer should be
the dimensions required for the backing material, and the end processing of the solidified
backing material be deburring degree, backing material The end of the exposed shield wire may
be processed.
[0025]
Also, as a method of fixing the vibrator to the backing material, instead of fixing the vibrator
element block to the backing material as it is in a rod shape, the rod-shaped vibrator element
block is cut into a single vibrator size. The process may be performed first, and the fine vibrators
may be fixed one by one on the backing material by applying the semiconductor manufacturing
technology.
[0026]
As described above, according to the present invention, the signal line connected to the electrode
of the vibrator is embedded in the backing material and penetrates to the back surface of the
backing material. Thus, it is not necessary to provide a printed circuit board between the vibrator
and the backing material.
Therefore, since the ultrasonic wave emitted from the transducer to the rear thereof is directly
propagated to the backing material and attenuated, the ultrasonic wave emitted from the
transducer to the rear thereof does not cause deterioration of the image quality of the ultrasonic
image.
[0027]
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Brief description of the drawings
[0028]
1 is a perspective view showing the internal structure of a two-dimensional probe according to
an embodiment of the present invention.
[0029]
2 is a longitudinal sectional view of the internal structure of the two-dimensional probe shown in
FIG.
[0030]
3 is a diagram showing a method of manufacturing a backing material according to an
embodiment of the present invention.
[0031]
4 is a diagram for explaining a method of manufacturing a transducer element block according to
an embodiment of the present invention.
[0032]
5 is a diagram for explaining a method of arranging the transducer element block shown in FIG.
4 on the backing material.
[0033]
6 is a diagram for explaining a method of forming the array transducer element shown in FIG. 5
into a two-dimensional array transducer.
[0034]
Explanation of sign
[0035]
DESCRIPTION OF SYMBOLS 1 ... backing material 2 ... vibrator element 2a ... piezoelectric
material 2b ... grand electrode 2c ... signal electrode 3 ... acoustic matching layer 4 ... printed
circuit board 5 ... signal line 6 ... ground line 31, 32 ... spacer 311, 312 ... notch groove
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