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DESCRIPTION JP2002065669

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DESCRIPTION JP2002065669
[0001]
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to an
ultrasonic probe and an ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus, and more particularly to the
improvement of the electrode shape in an ultrasonic probe.
[0002]
2. Description of the Related Art A general ultrasonic probe to which an electronic sector
scanning method or the like is applied has an array transducer. The array vibrator is constituted
by a plurality of vibration elements (piezoelectric elements) and a pair of electrodes provided on
the upper and lower surfaces thereof. Here, one electrode is a signal electrode and is separated
(sliced) for each element. The other electrode is a ground electrode, which is generally not
electrically isolated from element to element.
[0003]
When electronic sector scanning is applied to the array transducer, delay control for the
transmission signal to each element and phasing and addition control for the reception signal
from each element are executed.
[0004]
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Here, in order to increase the resolution at a short distance, when the diagnosis depth is set at a
short distance, the aperture (transmission / reception aperture) is set small.
That is, for long distance measurement, transmission / reception is performed using all elements
constituting the array transducer, and in the case of short distance measurement, a part of all
elements constituting the array transducer Transmission and reception is performed using the
[0005]
Although the above-mentioned aperture control is performed in the array direction, it is desirable
to perform aperture control (or weighting control) also in the direction (elevation direction)
orthogonal to the array direction.
[0006]
Therefore, in the prior art, an electrodeless portion (actually a cutout portion) is formed on both
sides of either the upper and lower electrodes or one of the electrodes, and the electric field is
not formed in that portion, to achieve elevation. The opening of the direction was changed.
That is, in the case of the short distance measurement, the aperture is limited by the electronic
element selection in the array direction, and the aperture is limited in the elevation direction by
the practical limitation of the electrode width accompanying the element selection.
[0007]
However, in the above-described conventional example, one or both of the electrode on the upper
surface side and the electrode on the lower surface side have a symmetrical shape with respect
to the array direction center line, that is, each individual Since both side portions of the electrode
are cut out, there is a problem that the extraction of the electrode becomes difficult at that
portion. That is, since the side of the electrode portion is located inside the vibrator at the
portion, it is difficult to connect a lead wire or the like to the electrode, and when a wide lead is
drawn, the electrode of that portion There is a problem that the effect can not be ignored. For
this reason, in the past, it has been a factor to increase the manufacturing cost.
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[0008]
Also, in order to perform weighting to lower the sound pressure level from the center to both
ends in the elevation direction, conventionally, both ends of the electrode element corresponding
to each vibrating element on both the upper surface side and the lower surface side. Although it
was also performed to make each of the tips tapered, there was a problem that it was difficult to
connect the lead wire to the apex of the tapered end.
[0009]
The present invention has been made in view of the above-mentioned conventional problems,
and an object thereof is to facilitate the manufacture of an ultrasonic probe which can perform
aperture control in the elevation direction.
[0010]
Another object of the present invention is to enable easy connection of signal lines.
[0011]
Another object of the present invention is to perform aperture control in the elevation direction
and to perform weighting in the elevation direction.
[0012]
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In order to achieve the above object, according to the present
invention, there is provided a piezoelectric element array comprising a plurality of piezoelectric
elements, and a first electrode provided on the upper surface of the piezoelectric element array.
And a second electrode provided on the lower surface of the piezoelectric element array, wherein
the first electrode is partially cut out of one of two side portions along the array direction It has a
first electrode shape, and the second electrode has a second electrode shape in which the other
side portion is partially cut out of the two side portions along the array direction.
[0013]
According to the above construction, the electrode-free cutout is formed on one side of the first
electrode, and the electrode-free cutout is formed on the other side of the second electrode. The
portion where the cutout portion is not formed acoustically functions as an effective region,
while the portion in which either the upper or lower portion is electrodeless has the acoustic
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function invalidated or reduced.
Therefore, while changing the size of the transmission / reception aperture in the elevation
direction along the array direction, at least one side of the first electrode and the second
electrode exists up to the side end, so that the signal line can be extracted Can be done easily.
[0014]
(2) In order to achieve the above object, the present invention provides a piezoelectric element
array comprising a plurality of piezoelectric elements, a first electrode provided on the upper
surface of the piezoelectric element array, and the piezoelectric element array And a second
electrode provided on the lower surface, wherein the first electrode is partially cut out
symmetrically with respect to the center in the array direction with respect to only one of the
two side portions along the array direction. And the second electrode is partially cut out
symmetrically with respect to the center in the array direction with respect to only the other side
among the two side portions along the array direction. It has a second electrode shape, and the
first electrode shape and the second electrode shape are in a reverse symmetry relation.
[0015]
Preferably, the cutout width of each of the first electrode and the second electrode is set so as to
be largest at the center in the array direction and gradually smaller from the center to both ends.
Preferably, the first electrode is a ground electrode, and electrode extraction is performed from
any point on the periphery thereof, and the second electrode is a signal electrode, and the
electrode extraction is performed from the side of one side thereof It will be.
In that case, desirably, electrode extraction is performed from the side of the other side of the
first electrode.
Here, it is desirable that the first electrode as the ground electrode is used as a solid electrode
without being cut, and the second electrode as the signal electrode is cut for each element.
[0016]
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(3) Further, in order to achieve the above object, the present invention is an ultrasonic diagnostic
apparatus to which the above ultrasonic probe is connected, wherein the variable control of the
transmission / reception aperture corresponding to the diagnostic distance And an electronic
sector scan of the ultrasonic beam.
[0017]
According to the above configuration, aperture variable control can be performed in both the
array direction and the elevation direction according to the diagnostic depth or the focus depth.
Even in that case, the signal line can be easily taken out.
[0018]
(4) In order to achieve the above object, the present invention comprises a piezoelectric element
array comprising a plurality of piezoelectric elements, and a first electrode element provided on
the upper surface of the piezoelectric element array and provided for each piezoelectric element.
A first electrode, and a second electrode provided on the lower surface of the piezoelectric
element array and including a second electrode element for each piezoelectric element, the first
electrode elements having an elevation direction orthogonal to the array direction Has a first
electrode element shape in which one end is tapered and the other end in the elevation direction
is widened, and each of the second electrode elements has a tapered shape at the other end in
the elevation direction, It has a second electrode element shape in which one end is widened.
[0019]
According to the above configuration, weighting can be performed along the elevation direction
for each piezoelectric element, and one end of the first electrode element is tapered and the other
end is kept wide. Since the other end of the second electrode element is formed to be tapered and
one end is kept wide, connection of signal lines can be easily performed by using the wide ends.
[0020]
Preferably, one of the first electrode and the second electrode is a ground electrode, a plurality of
electrode elements constituting the same are interconnected, and the other of the first electrode
and the second electrode is a signal electrode. , And the plurality of electrode elements that
constitute it are mutually separated.
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[0021]
Since the ground electrode serves as a common electrode for each piezoelectric element, it is
generally unnecessary to electrically separate the electrode elements, while the signal electrode
needs to be functioned individually for each piezoelectric element. Therefore, it is necessary to
electrically separate the electrode elements from each other.
[0022]
Preferably, the first electrode has an overall shape in which one side is partially cut out of two
sides along the array direction, and the second electrode is an array. Of the two sides along the
direction, the other side has a partially cut-off overall shape.
[0023]
According to this configuration, both the aperture control and the weighting can be performed in
the elevation direction, and there is an advantage that the signal lines can be easily connected.
[0024]
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Preferred embodiments of the present invention
will be described below with reference to the drawings.
[0025]
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of an array transducer according to the
present invention.
[0026]
This array vibrator is composed of a piezoelectric element array 10 and upper and lower
electrodes 14 and 16 formed on the upper and lower surfaces thereof.
Incidentally, a matching layer, a backing material and the like are bonded to this array
transducer, which will be described later with reference to FIG.
[0027]
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The piezoelectric element array 10 has a size of, for example, 10 mm × 10 mm as a whole, and
its thickness is, for example, 0.3 mm.
The upper surface electrode 14 and the lower surface electrode 16 have a thickness of 5 μm, for
example.
[0028]
The piezoelectric element array 10 is made of, for example, a material such as PZT, and is divided
into a plurality of piezoelectric elements 10a as shown.
Both or one of the upper surface electrode 14 and the lower surface electrode 16 is cut for each
piezoelectric element corresponding to each piezoelectric element 10a.
For example, when the lower surface electrode 16 functions as a signal electrode and the upper
surface electrode 14 functions as a ground electrode, the lower surface electrode 16 is divided
into each piezoelectric element.
In addition, the upper surface electrode is used as a solid electrode as illustrated.
[0029]
For example, electronic sector scanning is applied to such an array transducer.
That is, the transmitting beam and the receiving beam are formed by utilizing all or part of the
piezoelectric element group in the transmitting and receiving aperture.
In FIG. 1, the transmit and receive apertures are shown at 102-106, where the transmit and
receive apertures 102 are for long distance diagnostics, the transmit and receive apertures 104
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are for mid range diagnostics and the transmit and receive apertures 106 are near. It is an
opening for distance diagnosis.
Thus, there is an advantage that the resolution can be enhanced by appropriately adjusting the
size of the transmission / reception aperture in the array direction (X direction) according to the
diagnostic distance or the depth of the focus point.
This is itself a known technique.
[0030]
In the present embodiment, as shown in FIG. 1, one of the two side portions in the elevation
direction (Y direction) of the top electrode 14 is partially cut away. That is, the cutout 14A is
formed.
The cutout portion 14A is an electrodeless portion, and the portion does not function as an upper
surface electrode. Although the piezoelectric element array 10 is exposed in the cutout portion
14A, a nonconductive adhesive or the like may be poured into that portion. A non-electrode part
is not formed in the side part on the opposite side to the one side part in which the cutout part
14A is formed, but the side is exposed outside.
[0031]
Of the two side portions of the lower surface electrode 16 in the elevation direction, the other
side portion (the side portion opposite to the side portion on which the cut portion 14A is
formed) is cut out 16A is formed, and the cutout portion 16A constitutes an electrode-free
portion in the same manner as the cutout portion 14A. Although the piezoelectric element array
10 is exposed to the outside at the portion of the cutout portion 16A, of course, a nonconductive
adhesive or the like may be poured there.
[0032]
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As described above, the upper surface electrode 14 and the lower surface electrode 16 are
formed with the cutaway portions 14A and 16A having an asymmetrical shape with respect to
the center line along the X direction. Here, the cutouts 14A and 16A have the same half-moon
shape, in other words, the upper surface electrode 14 and the lower surface electrode 16 are in a
relation of inversion symmetry.
[0033]
In the upper surface electrode 14 and the lower surface electrode 16, the electrode width in the
Y direction is gradually expanded from the center line 100 passing through the center in the X
direction to both end portions. Then, considering that the portion to which the electric field is
applied substantially functions in the piezoelectric element array 10, the portion sandwiched
between the upper surface electrode 14 and the lower surface electrode 16 functions as an
effective vibration region In other words, the portions of the cutouts 14A and the cutouts 16A do
not function as effective vibration regions. That is, in FIG. 1, when viewed in the Y direction, the
reference numeral 108 can be recognized as a partial functional area, and similarly, all the parts
indicated by reference numerals 110 and 112 can be recognized as functional areas.
[0034]
Since the upper surface electrode 14 and the lower surface electrode 16 have the form as
described above, when the transmission / reception aperture in the X direction is narrowed, the
width of the transmission / reception aperture in the Y direction is also narrowed following it. As
a result, it is possible to realize aperture adjustment in both the X direction and the Y direction,
and to improve resolution more than in the past. Moreover, in the present embodiment, the
cutout 14A is formed only on one side of the upper surface electrode 14, and the cutout 16A is
formed only on the other side of the lower surface electrode 16. There is an advantage that each
side opposite to them is exposed to the outside, and lead connection and the like can be
extremely easily performed by using the side. This will be described below with reference to FIG.
[0035]
FIG. 2A shows the main configuration of an ultrasonic probe including an array transducer
according to the present embodiment. Further, (B) shows the main part configuration of the
conventional ultrasonic probe.
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[0036]
In (A), the matching layer 20 is provided on the upper surface side of the array transducer, and
the acoustic lens 22 is provided on the upper surface side. A backing layer 24 is provided on the
lower surface side of the array transducer. In such a configuration, the upper surface electrode
14 can be connected to the signal line 32 using one side exposed to the outside, and the other
side of the lower surface electrode 16 can be connected. The signal line 30 can be connected
using this.
[0037]
On the other hand, in the conventional example shown in (B), the cutaway portions are formed
on both side portions of the upper surface electrode 14 'and the lower surface electrode 16'. The
problem arises that it has to be done inside the oscillator. On the other hand, according to this
embodiment shown to (A), such connection of a signal wire can be performed simply.
[0038]
Incidentally, the upper surface electrode 14 and the lower surface electrode 16 may be thin gold
layers formed on both sides of the piezoelectric plate which is the origin of the piezoelectric
element array, and may be copper foil or a flexible circuit board (FPC) It is also good.
[0039]
In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 described above, the half-moon shaped cutouts 14A and 16A
are formed, but the present invention is not limited to such a shape, and gradually from the
center to both ends in the X direction. Various types can be adopted as long as the cutting width
is reduced.
[0040]
FIG. 3 shows another embodiment of the ultrasonic probe according to the present invention, and
FIG. 3 is a view showing the main configuration of the ultrasonic probe.
[0041]
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Similar to the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 3 as well, the upper
surface electrode 30 is formed on the upper surface side of the piezoelectric element array 28,
and the lower surface on the lower surface side of the piezoelectric element array 28. An
electrode 34 is formed.
The piezoelectric element array 28 is composed of a plurality of piezoelectric elements 40
arranged along the array direction, and more specifically, the plurality of piezoelectric elements
40 are formed by cutting (dicing) the piezoelectric plate.
[0042]
The upper surface electrode 30 functions as a ground electrode, and the upper surface electrode
30 is constituted by an electrode element 32 provided for each of the piezoelectric elements 40.
As shown in FIG. 3, the electrode elements 32 are integrated with each other, whereby a solid
electrode is configured as the entire top electrode 30.
FIG. 4A shows the form of the electrode element 32. One end 32A of the electrode element 32 is
tapered, and the other end 32B of the electrode element 32 is kept wide. Therefore, as shown in
FIG. 3, one side of the upper surface electrode 30 has a jagged form in which a large number of
triangles are connected, and the other side of the upper surface electrode 30 remains solid. It is
assumed. Incidentally, if the signal line is individually connected to each electrode element 32,
the individual electrode elements 32 can be physically separated.
[0043]
As shown in FIG. 3, the lower surface electrode 34 is constituted by a plurality of electrode
elements 36 provided for each piezoelectric element 40. Each electrode element 36 has a form as
shown in FIG. 4 (B) and is electrically separated from each other. One end 36B of the electrode
element 36 is kept wide and the other end 36A of the electrode element 36 has a tapered form.
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[0044]
That is, as shown in FIG. 3, the upper surface electrode 30 is formed with a cutout 44 on the
lower side in the figure, thereby forming a jagged shape, while the lower surface electrode 34 is
shown in FIG. In the upper part, a cutout 46 is formed, which forms a jagged shape.
[0045]
When each of the electrode elements 32 and 36 in FIGS. 4A and 4B is polymerized, the wider one
end 36B corresponds to the lower side of the tapered one end 32A on the upper surface side, and
the other is wider. A tapered one end 36A corresponds to the lower side of the end 32B.
Therefore, as understood from this configuration, since the tapered shape is provided in any of
the electrodes, the sound pressure level at the relevant portion can be reduced, that is, from the
center to both ends along the elevation direction It is possible to gradually lower the sound
pressure level. In that case, since at least one end of each of the electrode elements 32 and 36 is
formed wide, it becomes easy to connect the signal lines 50 and 52 to the end on the wide side.
[0046]
As described above, according to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the cutouts 44 and 46
are respectively provided on the upper surface electrode 30 and the lower surface electrode 34
as in the embodiment shown in FIG. Accordingly, weighting in the elevation direction can be
performed with such a reverse symmetry relationship, and there is an advantage that connection
of signal lines can be easily performed. Although the electrode element by which the edge part
was processed into the triangle shape was shown by FIG.3 and FIG.4, it is not limited to such a
shape, As long as weighting can be performed, it is possible to employ various forms. It is.
[0047]
FIG. 5 shows the main configuration of an ultrasonic probe according to still another
embodiment. The embodiment shown in FIG. 5 corresponds to a combination of the embodiment
shown in FIG. 1 and the embodiment shown in FIG.
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[0048]
That is, the upper surface electrode 54 is constituted by a plurality of electrode elements 58,
each electrode element 58 is connected to each other, and one end 58A thereof is formed to be
tapered. Also, the other end is kept wide. However, the central portion of one side (upper side in
the figure) of the upper surface electrode 54 is cut out as a whole on the inner side, and the
electrode-free portion shown in FIG. 1 is configured. The apex of each tapered one end 58A is
aligned along the ridge line of such an electrodeless portion.
[0049]
The lower surface electrode 56 has an inverted symmetrical form with the upper surface
electrode 54, that is, the other end 60A of each electrode element 60 is tapered, and the other
side of the lower surface electrode 56 is cut out at its central portion. And the electrodeless
portion is formed. The apex of the other end 60A of each electrode element 60 is aligned along
the ridge line of the non-electrode portion. However, in the lower surface electrode 56, each
electrode element 60 is electrically separated. This is similar to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 3
and 4.
[0050]
According to the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, as in the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the size of
the transmission / reception aperture can be adjusted in the elevation direction, ie, using only the
central portion in the array direction. When transmitting and receiving ultrasonic waves, it is
possible to squeeze the size of the transmission / reception aperture in the elevation direction.
Furthermore, there is an advantage that weighting control in the elevation direction can be
performed together with such control of the transmission / reception aperture, and there is an
advantage that an ultrasonic probe with higher practicability can be configured.
[0051]
As described above, according to the present invention, the aperture control can be performed in
the elevation direction, and in such a case, the manufacture of the ultrasound probe can be
simplified. In addition, connection of signal lines can be easily performed. Furthermore, both
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aperture control and weighting can be realized in the elevation direction.
[0052]
Brief description of the drawings
[0053]
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an array transducer according to the present invention.
[0054]
FIG. 2 is a view for explaining comparison between the present embodiment and a conventional
example.
[0055]
FIG. 3 is a top view showing the main configuration of another embodiment according to the
present invention.
[0056]
4 is a view showing the form of each electrode element in the embodiment shown in FIG.
[0057]
FIG. 5 is a top view showing the configuration of the main part of still another embodiment
according to the present invention.
[0058]
Explanation of sign
[0059]
10 piezoelectric element array, 14 upper surface electrode, 16 lower surface electrode, 28
piezoelectric element array, 30 upper surface electrode, 32 piezoelectric element array, 34 lower
surface electrode, 54 upper surface electrode, 56 lower surface electrode.
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