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DESCRIPTION JP2006166985

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DESCRIPTION JP2006166985
PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To realize reduction in diameter of a tip of an ultrasonic probe for inbody cavity diagnosis, and reduce adverse effects caused by using a wiring cable. SOLUTION: An
ultrasonic transducer array 10 disposed at a tip 2a of a body cavity diagnostic ultrasonic probe 2
comprises a flexible circuit board 30, an electric circuit 31, a backing material 32, and a
piezoelectric element array 33 on a support 11. , The acoustic matching layer 34, and the
acoustic lens 35 are sequentially stacked. The electric circuit 31 includes an amplifier 40 for
amplifying an echo signal from the ultrasound transducer 12, a switch 41 for switching between
transmission and reception of a drive signal and an echo signal for exciting the ultrasound
transducer 12, a plurality of drive signals and / or echo signals. A multiplexer (MP) 42 that
selectively switches, an A / D converter (A / D) 43 that performs A / D conversion on an echo
signal, and a D / A converter (D / A that performs D / A conversion on a drive signal B) at least
one of 44). [Selected figure] Figure 3
Ultrasound probe for body cavity diagnosis and method for producing ultrasound probe for body
cavity diagnosis
[0001]
The present invention is used in a body cavity diagnostic ultrasound probe including an
ultrasound transducer array which is used by being inserted into a body cavity, irradiates an
ultrasonic wave to a required part of a living body, and receives an echo signal from the living
body, and a body cavity The present invention relates to a method for producing a diagnostic
ultrasound probe.
[0002]
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1
BACKGROUND In recent years, medical diagnosis using ultrasonic images has been put to
practical use in the medical field.
An ultrasonic image is generated by irradiating an ultrasonic wave to a required part of a living
body from an ultrasonic probe and electrically detecting an echo signal from the living body with
an ultrasonic observation device connected via the ultrasonic probe and a connector. can get. The
ultrasound probe is roughly classified into a body cavity diagnostic used by inserting into a body
cavity and an extracorporeal diagnostic used by moving along a body surface. As a drive system
of an ultrasonic probe for body cavity diagnosis, an electronic scan scanning system is known in
which a plurality of ultrasonic transducers for transmitting and receiving ultrasonic waves are
arranged and an ultrasonic transducer to be driven is selectively switched by an electronic switch
or the like. There is.
[0003]
An electronic scan type ultrasonic probe includes a convex electronic scanning type in which a
plurality of (for example, 94 to 128) ultrasonic transducers are arranged in a fan shape at the tip
of the probe. In addition, there is a radial electronic scanning system in which a plurality of (for
example, 360) ultrasonic transducers are disposed on the outer periphery of the tip of the probe.
[0004]
In a body cavity diagnostic ultrasonic probe in which a plurality of ultrasonic transducers are
arranged as in the convex electronic scanning method and radial electronic scanning method,
various signals such as drive signals and echo signals for exciting the individual ultrasonic
transducers are used. Since the wiring cable for transmitting and receiving between the electric
circuit provided on the ultrasonic probe side and the ultrasonic observation device becomes
thick, it has been a hindrance to the reduction in diameter of the ultrasonic probe.
[0005]
In addition, since the number of ultrasonic transducers is limited by the thickness of the wiring
cable that is allowed, there is a problem that the resolution of the ultrasonic image becomes flat.
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2
In addition to the attenuation of the echo signal due to the increase of the capacitance of the
wiring cable and the decrease of the S / N ratio of the signal due to the mismatch of the electrical
impedance, there is a possibility that the crosstalk between wires occurs to cause malfunction. .
[0006]
In order to solve the above problems, an ultrasonic transducer (see Patent Document 1) in which
an ultrasonic transducer and an amplifier for amplifying an echo signal are integrated without
using a wiring cable, or an ultrasonic transducer using a composite piezoelectric material There
has been proposed an ultrasonic transducer in which an electric circuit is mounted on a silicon
substrate integrated with the above, and a wiring cable for connecting the electric circuit and the
ultrasonic transducer is unnecessary (see Patent Document 2).
[0007]
In addition, recently, an ultrasonic transducer using a capacitive vibrator to which MEMS (Micro
Electro Mechanical Systems) technology is applied has been proposed (see Patent Document 3
and Non-patent Document 1).
According to this technology, capacitive vibrators can be easily formed in an array, and
capacitive vibrators can be integrally formed on an electric circuit such as a CMOS circuit. .
[Patent Document 2] JP-A-2000-298119 [Patent Document 2] JP-A-2003-503923 Oralken et al,
"Volumetric Ultrasound Imaging Using 2-D CMUT Arrays", NOVEMBER 2003, IEEE
TRANSACTION ON ULTRASONIC, FERROELECTRICS, AND FREQUENCYNCY CONTROL, VOL. 50,
NO. 11
[0008]
However, in the techniques described in Patent Documents 1 and 2, since the amplifier and the
electric circuit are arranged in the lateral direction of the ultrasonic transducer, the ultrasonic
transducer is formed by matching the insertion direction of the ultrasonic probe and the lateral
direction. When arranged, the size of the hard part including the ultrasonic transducer is
increased, which increases the burden on the patient when the ultrasonic probe is inserted into
the living body.
[0009]
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3
In the techniques described in Patent Documents 1 and 2, although ultrasonic transducers are
one-dimensionally arrayed in an array as an example, when an amplifier or an electric circuit is
arranged in the lateral direction of the ultrasonic transducers, There is a problem that the wiring
with the ultrasonic transducer becomes complicated.
[0010]
Furthermore, in the technology described in Patent Document 3, the electric circuit is stacked in
the thickness direction of the ultrasonic transducer, but the connection relationship between the
electric circuit and the wiring cable, the arrangement of ultrasonic transducers, the number of
ultrasonic transducers, etc. There is no description, and in particular, no embodiment suitable for
the convex electronic scanning method or the radial electronic scanning method is described.
[0011]
The present invention has been made in view of the above problems, and provides an ultrasonic
probe for body cavity diagnosis that can realize reduction in diameter of the probe tip and can
reduce adverse effects caused by using a wiring cable. The purpose is to
[0012]
Further, according to the present invention, it is possible to easily manufacture an ultrasonic
probe for body cavity diagnosis in which an ultrasonic transducer array in which at least a part
of electric circuits is stacked in the thickness direction is disposed at the tip. An object of the
present invention is to provide a method for producing a diagnostic ultrasound probe.
[0013]
In order to achieve the above object, according to the present invention, there is provided an
ultrasonic probe for body cavity diagnosis in which an ultrasonic transducer array in which a
plurality of ultrasonic transducers are arranged in an array is disposed at a tip thereof. At least a
part of the electric circuit for operating the ultrasonic transducer is laminated in the thickness
direction.
[0014]
Preferably, a piezoelectric element is used as the ultrasonic transducer.
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4
Alternatively, it is preferable to use a capacitive transducer for the ultrasonic transducer.
[0015]
In addition, the ultrasonic transducer array has a structure in which at least a flexible substrate,
the electric circuit, a backing material, the piezoelectric element, and an acoustic matching layer
are sequentially stacked on a rigid support. Preferably, a wire for electrically connecting the
electric circuit and the piezoelectric element is provided.
[0016]
Alternatively, the ultrasonic transducer array preferably has a structure in which at least a
flexible substrate, the electric circuit, and the capacitive transducer are sequentially stacked on a
rigid support.
In this case, it is preferable to provide a backing material between the support and the flexible
substrate.
Alternatively, the support preferably has an ultrasonic absorption function.
[0017]
The flexible substrate is preferably a circuit substrate provided with a wiring pattern.
[0018]
The electric circuit is an amplifier for amplifying an echo signal from the ultrasonic transducer, a
switch for switching between transmission and reception of a drive signal for exciting the
ultrasonic transducer and the echo signal, a plurality of the drive signals and / or the echo signal
It is preferable to include at least one of a multiplexer that selectively switches the A / D
converter to perform A / D conversion on the echo signal, and a D / A converter to perform D / A
conversion on the drive signal. .
[0019]
Preferably, the ultrasonic transducer array is a radial electronic scanning system in which the
plurality of ultrasonic transducers are arranged concentrically.
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5
[0020]
Alternatively, it is preferable that the ultrasonic transducer array is a convex electronic scanning
system in which the plurality of ultrasonic transducers are arranged in a fan shape.
In this case, a drive signal for exciting the ultrasonic transducer is generated, and an electrical
signal is electrically connected to an ultrasonic observer that generates an ultrasonic image from
an echo signal from the ultrasonic transducer. Preferably, the distribution cable is introduced
from the proximal end portion of the back of the support on which the ultrasonic transducer
array is provided.
In addition, the ultrasonic transducer array may be disposed so as to be inclined with respect to
the introduction direction of the wiring cable from the ultrasonic observation device so that the
base end portion of the back surface of the support is seen from the wiring cable. Is preferred.
[0021]
Alternatively, a wire for electrically connecting the electric circuit and an ultrasonic observer that
generates an ultrasonic image from an echo signal from the ultrasonic transducer while
generating a drive signal for exciting the ultrasonic transducer Preferably, a cable is connected to
a terminal provided on the proximal end of the flexible circuit board electrically connected to the
electric circuit.
[0022]
It is preferable to mount an imaging device provided with an objective optical system for taking
in image light of an observation site in a living body, and an imaging element for imaging the
image light and outputting an imaging signal.
[0023]
Further, the present invention is a method of producing an ultrasonic probe for body cavity
diagnosis, in which an ultrasonic transducer array in which a plurality of ultrasonic transducers
are arranged in an array is disposed at a tip, at least the ultrasonic wave A process of forming an
electrical circuit for operating a transducer on a silicon substrate, a process of laminating a
capacitive vibrator on the silicon substrate on which the electrical circuit is formed, and the
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6
silicon substrate leaving the electrical circuit A step of removing and a step of bonding a flexible
substrate on the back surface side of the electric circuit after removing the silicon substrate are
provided.
[0024]
The silicon substrate is an SOI substrate in which an insulating layer is sandwiched between two
silicon layers, the electric circuit is formed in the upper silicon layer, and after laminating the
capacitive vibrator, the lower layer is formed. Preferably, the silicon layer is removed leaving the
insulating layer.
[0025]
According to the ultrasonic probe for body cavity diagnosis of the present invention, at least at
least one of the electric circuits for operating the ultrasonic transducer in the thickness direction
of an ultrasonic transducer array in which a plurality of ultrasonic transducers are arranged in an
array. By stacking the parts, the size of the hard part including the ultrasonic transducer is
reduced, and the burden on the patient is reduced.
In addition, the wiring between the ultrasonic transducer and the electric circuit can be smartly
integrated, which reduces the cost of mounting the ultrasonic transducer.
Therefore, it is possible to realize the reduction in diameter of the tip of the probe, which is the
most important issue in a diagnostic ultrasound probe for body cavity, and to reduce the adverse
effect caused by using the wiring cable.
[0026]
A capacitive transducer is used as an ultrasonic transducer, and as an ultrasonic transducer
array, it has a structure in which at least a flexible substrate, an electric circuit, and a capacitive
transducer are sequentially stacked on a rigid support. When one is used, the capacitive vibrator
can be integrally formed on the electric circuit, so that the wiring can be smarter compared to
the case where the piezoelectric element is used.
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7
Further, the frequency band of ultrasonic waves is wider than that of the piezoelectric element,
ultrasonic waves of a plurality of frequencies can be transmitted and received, and ultrasonic
diagnosis in a deeper region can be performed.
In addition, the voltage of the drive signal is lower than that of the piezoelectric element, and
noise is less likely to occur.
Furthermore, since self-heating is smaller than that of a piezoelectric element and can be formed
directly on a silicon substrate, the heat radiation efficiency to the surroundings is high, and heat
generation, which is an important issue in a body cavity diagnostic ultrasound probe, is
suppressed. be able to.
[0027]
When an amplifier for amplifying the echo signal from the ultrasonic transducer is included in
the electric circuit, the transmission loss of the wiring cable does not cause attenuation of the
signal or mixing of noise, and the S / N ratio of the echo signal is improved.
When a multiplexer that selectively switches between a plurality of drive signals and / or echo
signals is included in the electric circuit, the number of signal lines on the wiring cable side for
transmitting and receiving the drive signals and the echo signals is at most two. Can be made
thinner.
[0028]
When an A / D converter that performs A / D conversion on the echo signal is included in the
electric circuit, the echo signal is treated as a digital signal on the wiring cable side, so that the
attenuation of the echo signal in the wiring cable is eliminated.
When a D / A converter that performs D / A conversion on the drive signal is included in the
electric circuit, the drive signal is treated as a digital signal on the wiring cable side, so that the
attenuation of the drive signal in the wiring cable is eliminated.
13-04-2019
8
[0029]
Since the distribution cable is introduced from the proximal end portion of the back surface of
the support on which the ultrasonic transducer array is provided, the wiring can be integrated
more smartly.
In addition, since the ultrasonic transducer array is arranged to be inclined with respect to the
introduction direction of the wiring cable from the ultrasonic observation device so that the base
end portion of the back surface of the support is seen from the wiring cable, the wiring cable is
introduced. As a result, the cost of mounting the ultrasonic transducer array can be further
reduced.
[0030]
Further, according to the method of manufacturing an ultrasonic probe of the present invention,
at least a step of forming an electric circuit for operating an ultrasonic transducer on a silicon
substrate, and a capacitive vibration on the silicon substrate on which the electric circuit is
formed. Since the process of laminating the layers, the process of removing the silicon substrate
while leaving the electric circuit, and the process of bonding the flexible substrate to the back
side of the electric circuit after removing the silicon substrate are provided, It is possible to easily
manufacture an ultrasonic probe in which an ultrasonic transducer array in which at least a part
of the circuit is stacked is disposed at the tip.
[0031]
As a silicon substrate, an SOI substrate in which an insulating layer is sandwiched between two
silicon layers is used, an electric circuit is formed in the upper silicon layer, and after laminating
the capacitive vibrator, the lower silicon layer leaves the insulating layer. Thus, it is possible to
more easily manufacture an ultrasonic probe in which an ultrasonic transducer array in which at
least a part of an electric circuit is stacked in the thickness direction is disposed at the tip.
[0032]
In FIG. 1, an ultrasonic transducer array 10 is disposed at a distal end 2a of a body cavity
diagnostic ultrasonic probe (hereinafter simply referred to as an ultrasonic probe) 2 to which the
present invention is applied.
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The ultrasonic transducer array (having an outer diameter of about 5 to 8 mm) 10 has a plurality
of one-dimensional shapes shown in FIG. 2A or a two-dimensional array shown in FIG. The
ultrasonic transducers 12 are arranged in a so-called convex electronic scanning system.
[0033]
An objective optical system 14 for taking in the image light of the observation site in the living
body and an imaging signal by imaging the image light on the upper part of the sheath (about 7
to 10 mm in outer diameter) connected to the ultrasonic transducer array 10 An imaging device
16 having a CCD 15 for outputting the image is mounted, and a puncture needle channel 18
through which the puncture needle 17 is inserted is provided at the central portion.
In the lower part of the sheath 13, an array wiring cable 19 and an imaging device wiring cable
20 for electrically connecting an ultrasonic observation device (not shown), the ultrasonic
transducer array 10 and the imaging device 16 are as follows: It is inserted so as to sandwich the
puncture needle channel 18.
[0034]
The support 11 is made of a rigid material such as stainless steel.
In the ultrasonic transducer array 10, the introduction direction of the array wiring cable 19
from the ultrasonic observation device (the direction A in the figure) so that the base end portion
11b of the back surface 11a of the support 11 is seen from the array wiring cable 19. ) Are
arranged at an angle to the The array wiring cable 19 is introduced to the proximal end portion
11 b of the support 11. The support 11 has a through hole (not shown) through which the array
wiring cable 19 is inserted, and through the through hole, the flexible circuit board 30 and the
electric circuit 31 described later (see FIG. 3). And the array wiring cable 19 are electrically
connected.
[0035]
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10
In FIG. 3, the ultrasonic transducer array 10 comprises a flexible printed circuit board (50 μm to
1 mm in thickness) 30, an electric circuit (usually composed of one or more semiconductor
circuit chips) 31, a backing on a support 11 A material 32, a piezoelectric element array 33, an
acoustic matching layer 34, and an acoustic lens (thickness 0.5 to 1.0 mm, radius of curvature 5
to 10 mm) 35 are sequentially stacked. The flexible circuit board 30 is provided with a wiring
pattern (not shown), and is electrically connected to the electric circuit 31. Although not shown,
the flexible circuit board 30 and the electric circuit 31 are electrically connected to the array
wiring cable 19 introduced from the proximal end portion 11 b of the support 11.
[0036]
As shown in FIGS. 4 to 9, the electric circuit 31 includes an amplifier 40 for amplifying an echo
signal from the ultrasonic transducer 12, a switch 41 for switching between transmission and
reception of a drive signal for exciting the ultrasonic transducer 12 and the echo signal,
Multiplexer (MP) 42 that selectively switches multiple drive signals and / or echo signals, A / D
converter (A / D) 43 that performs A / D conversion on echo signals, and D / A conversion to
drive signals At least one of the applied D / A converters (D / A) 44 is included.
[0037]
In the example shown in FIG. 4, the amplifier 40 and the switch 41 are included in the electric
circuit 31, and the others are provided on the ultrasonic observer side.
The switch 41 is made of, for example, a semiconductor switching element such as a MOSFET or
an electromechanical switch electromechanically switching contacts, etc., based on a switch
control signal transmitted from an ultrasonic observer via the array wiring cable 19. , Switching
between transmission and reception of the drive signal and the echo signal.
[0038]
The example shown in FIG. 4 is particularly effective when used in a case where the number of
ultrasonic transducers 12 is relatively small, such as a one-dimensional array, and the thickness
of the array wiring cable 19 is allowed to some extent. Further, in this example, since the
amplifier 40 is included in the electric circuit 31, the attenuation of the signal and the mixing of
noise do not occur due to the transmission loss of the wiring cable, and the S / N ratio of the
13-04-2019
11
echo signal is improved. Since the signal lines for transmitting and receiving the drive signal and
the echo signal are separated, the low-voltage drive amplifier 40 can be used, and there is a
specific effect that the component cost and the power consumption are reduced.
[0039]
In the example shown in FIG. 5, in addition to the amplifier 40 and the switch 41, the MP 42 is
included in the electric circuit 31, and the others are provided on the ultrasonic observation side.
The MP 42 performs selective switching of a plurality of drive signals and / or echo signals based
on an MP control signal transmitted from the ultrasound observer via the array wiring cable 19.
[0040]
The example shown in FIG. 5 is particularly effective when used in a case where the number of
ultrasonic transducers 12 is large, such as a two-dimensional array, and the thickness of the
array wiring cable 19 is not acceptable. That is, only two signal lines on the side of the array
wiring cable 19 for transmitting and receiving the drive signal and the echo signal are required
by the MP 42, and the thickness of the array wiring cable 19 can be reduced. Also, it may be
used in cases where the number of ultrasonic transducers 12 is relatively small, such as a onedimensional array, in which case the array wiring cable 19 can be made thinner, reducing the
burden on the patient. It can be done.
[0041]
In the example shown in FIG. 6, the components included in the electric circuit 31 are the same
as the example shown in FIG. 5, except that the switch 41 and the amplifier 40 are provided on
the output side of the MP. In this example, since only one amplifier 40 and one switch 41 are
required, component cost, power consumption, and heat generation due to driving are reduced.
In particular, in the ultrasonic probe for body cavity diagnosis represented by an ultrasonic
endoscope, suppressing the heat generation of the tip 2a has an important effect.
[0042]
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12
In the example shown in FIG. 7, in addition to the amplifier 40, the switch 41, and the MP 42, the
A / D 43 is included in the electric circuit 31, and the others are provided on the ultrasonic
observation side. The A / D 43 performs A / D conversion to an echo signal based on the A / D
control signal transmitted from the ultrasonic observation device via the array wiring cable 19. In
this example, since the echo signal is treated as a digital signal on the array wiring cable 19 side,
attenuation of the echo signal in the array wiring cable 19 is eliminated.
[0043]
In the example shown in FIG. 8, in addition to the amplifier 40, the switch 41, the MP 42, and the
A / D 43, the D / A 44 is included in the electric circuit 31, and the other is provided on the
ultrasonic observation side. The D / A 44 performs D / A conversion to a drive signal based on
the D / A control signal transmitted from the ultrasonic observation device via the array wiring
cable 19. In this example, since the drive signal is treated as a digital signal on the array wiring
cable 19 side, the attenuation of the drive signal in the array wiring cable 19 is eliminated.
Further, since the echo signal is also treated as a digital signal by the A / D 43, it is possible to
combine the drive signal and the echo signal to perform digital signal transmission using an
optical fiber.
[0044]
In the example shown in FIG. 9, the MPs 42 are arranged for each row of the N rows × M
columns of the ultrasonic transducer array 10 and included in the electric circuit 31. In this
example, when there are a large number of ultrasonic transducers 12, such as a two-dimensional
array, or a scanning sequence in which the ultrasonic transducers 12 are divided into a plurality
of blocks and transmission and reception of drive signals and echo signals are divided into
blocks. It is particularly effective if used in the case of adoption. In addition to the MP 42,
another circuit may be added as appropriate.
[0045]
Here, in FIGS. 4 to 9, the combination of the amplifier 40, the switch 41, the MP 42, the A / D 43,
and the D / A 44 may not be illustrated, and can be appropriately changed according to the
specification. For example, if the switch 41 may be omitted and the influence of noise is so small
as to be negligible, the amplifier 40 is also unnecessary. Further, in order to suppress the
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13
generation of noise and to reduce the influence of noise, a signal line for transmitting and
receiving a drive signal and an echo signal may be combined with an analog ground wire to form
a coaxial cable. In addition, digital signal lines such as switch control signals and MP control
signals may be integrated and shielded by digital ground wires. In addition, a phase delay circuit
may be inserted in the drive signal line on the ultrasonic transducer array 10 side. Furthermore,
a coil for performing impedance matching with the array wiring cable 19, a filter circuit or the
like may be appropriately arranged.
[0046]
Returning to FIG. 3, in the backing material 32, a through hole 36 penetrating from the electric
circuit 31 to the piezoelectric element array 33 is bored. A wire 38 soldered to the terminal
portion 37 on the electric circuit 31 is inserted through the through hole 36, and the wire is
connected to electrodes (not shown) sandwiching the piezoelectric element array 33. In order to
reduce the component cost, the function of the flexible circuit board 30 may be given to the
backing material 32 and the flexible circuit board 30 may be omitted.
[0047]
The piezoelectric element array 33 includes piezoelectric elements 33a arranged in a onedimensional or two-dimensional array, and a filler 33b filled in a gap between the piezoelectric
elements 33a. The acoustic matching layer 34 is provided to reduce the difference in acoustic
impedance between the piezoelectric element 33 a and the living body. The acoustic lens 35 is
made of silicon resin or the like, and focuses the ultrasonic waves emitted from the ultrasonic
transducer array 10 toward the observation site in the living body. The acoustic lens 35 may not
be provided, and a protective layer may be provided instead of the acoustic lens 35.
[0048]
When acquiring an ultrasonic image in the living body, the ultrasonic probe 2 is inserted into the
living body, and while the optical image obtained by the imaging device 16 is observed by the
ultrasonic observation device, a required portion in the living body is searched Ru. Then, when
the distal end 2a of the ultrasonic probe 2 reaches a required part in the living body and an
instruction to acquire an ultrasonic image is given, transmission and reception of the ultrasonic
wave of the ultrasonic transducer 12 is switched by the switch 41. The ultrasonic transducer
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array 10 emits ultrasonic waves while selectively switching a plurality of drive signals and / or
echo signals, and the living body is irradiated with ultrasonic waves, and echo signals from the
living body are ultrasonic transducer arrays Received at 10. An echo signal from a living body is
converted into an ultrasonic image by an ultrasonic observer and displayed on a monitor or the
like. In addition, while observing an optical image or an ultrasonic image, the puncture needle 17
is operated as needed, and a required part in the living body is collected.
[0049]
As described above, since at least a part of the electric circuit 31 is stacked in the thickness
direction of the ultrasonic transducer 12, the size of the hard portion including the ultrasonic
transducer 12 is reduced, and the burden on the patient is reduced. Further, since the wiring 38
between the ultrasonic transducer 12 and the electric circuit 31 is inserted into the through hole
36 bored in the backing material 32, the wiring can be integrated smartly, and the mounting cost
of the ultrasonic transducer 12 is reduced. Ru.
[0050]
Furthermore, as viewed from the array wiring cable 19, the ultrasonic transducer array 10 is
placed in the direction in which the array wiring cable 19 is introduced from the ultrasonic
observation device so that the base end portion 11b of the back surface 11a of the support 11 is
extended. Since the array wiring cable 19 is inclined and introduced from the base end portion
11b of the back surface 11a of the support 11, the array wiring cable 19 and the electric circuit
31 can be easily electrically connected. . Therefore, the diameter reduction of the tip 2a of the
ultrasonic probe 2 can be realized, and the adverse effect due to the use of the wiring cable can
be reduced.
[0051]
As shown in FIG. 10, other components are stacked so that the base end portion 30a of the
flexible circuit board 30 is exposed, and the exposed base end portion 30a is provided with the
terminal portion 30b, and the terminal portion 30b is provided for arraying. The distribution
cable 19 may be electrically connected. Also in this case, the wiring can be integrated smartly, as
in the above embodiment.
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15
[0052]
In the above embodiment, the ultrasonic transducer array 10 in which the ultrasonic transducers
12 using the piezoelectric elements 33a are arranged is described as an example, but the
capacitive transducer 51a (see FIGS. 13 and 14) is used. The present invention is also effective
for an ultrasonic probe using the ultrasonic transducer array 50 shown in FIG. 11 in which the
used ultrasonic transducers are arranged.
[0053]
Since the capacitive vibrator 51a can be integrally formed on the electric circuit, the wiring can
be made smarter compared to the case where the piezoelectric element 33a is used.
In addition, the frequency band of ultrasonic waves is wider than that of the piezoelectric
element 33a, ultrasonic waves of a plurality of frequencies can be transmitted and received, and
ultrasonic diagnosis in a deeper region can be performed. In addition, the voltage of the drive
signal is lower than that of the piezoelectric element 33a, so that noise is less likely to occur.
Furthermore, the self-heating is smaller than that of the piezoelectric element 33a, and since it
can be formed directly on the silicon substrate, the heat radiation efficiency to the surroundings
is high, and the heat generation which is an important issue in the ultrasonic probe for body
cavity diagnosis is suppressed. be able to.
[0054]
In FIG. 11, in the ultrasonic transducer array 50, a backing material 32, a flexible circuit board
30, an electric circuit 31, a capacitive transducer array 51, and an acoustic lens or protective
layer 35 are sequentially stacked on a support 11. It has the following structure. The total
thickness of the electric circuit 31 and the capacitive transducer array 51 is 20 to 30 μm, and
the total thickness of the ultrasonic transducer array 50 is about 6 to 8 mm.
[0055]
As shown in FIG. 12, the capacitive transducer array 51 is divided into, for example, four
elements 52 of 2 rows × 2 columns. 13 and 14 showing an enlarged plan view and a cross-
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16
sectional view of the element 52, the capacitive vibrator array 51 includes an insulating layer (for
example, SiO 2) 60, a lower electrode (Al) 61, and an insulating layer (SiNX) 62, A vacuum sealed
air gap 63, a movable insulating layer (SiNX) 64, an upper electrode (Al) 65, and a protective
insulating layer (SiO2) 66 are provided. A terminal portion 61 a electrically connected to the
electric circuit 31 is extended from the lower electrode 61 through the insulating layer 60. In
FIG. 13 and FIG. 14, a portion surrounded by an alternate long and short dash line constitutes
one capacitive vibrator 51 a.
[0056]
Next, with reference to FIG. 15, a specific manufacturing procedure of the ultrasonic transducer
array 50 will be described. First, as shown in (1), the SOI substrate 73 in which the silicon layer
72 is stacked on the insulating layer 71 of the silicon substrate 70 is used, and as shown in (2)
Form
[0057]
After forming the electric circuit 31, as shown in (3), the capacitive vibrator array 51 is formed
on the electric circuit 31. Then, as shown in (4), the temporary support 74 is adhered on the
capacitive transducer array 51. Next, as shown in (5), the silicon substrate 70 is removed leaving
the insulating layer 71 by, for example, electrochemical etching.
[0058]
After removing the silicon substrate 70, as shown in (6), the flexible circuit board 30 is bonded to
the back surface of the insulating layer 71, and as shown in (7), the temporary support 74 is
made of the capacitive vibrator array 51. Remove from
[0059]
After peeling off the temporary support 74, as shown in (8), the acoustic lens or the protective
layer 35 is bonded onto the capacitive transducer array 51.
Finally, the sheet shown in (8) is laminated on the support 11 and wired with the array wiring
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17
cable 19 or the like to complete an ultrasonic probe in which the ultrasonic transducer array 50
is disposed at the tip. Thereby, the ultrasonic probe can be easily manufactured. The method of
manufacturing the ultrasonic transducer array 50 is not limited to the method described above,
but after the electric circuit 31 is formed on a silicon substrate and the silicon substrate is
removed leaving the electric circuit 31, the flexible substrate on the back side of the electric
circuit 31 Any method may be adopted as long as it is a method of bonding together.
[0060]
As in the ultrasonic transducer array 80 shown in FIG. 16, instead of the support 11, a support
81 using an ultrasonic absorbing function material may be used. In this way, the backing
material 32 is not required, and further miniaturization and cost reduction can be realized.
[0061]
In the above embodiment, although the convex electronic scanning ultrasonic transducer array
10, 50, 80 has been illustrated and described, as shown in FIGS. 17 and 18, a radial electron in
which a plurality of ultrasonic transducers are arranged concentrically The present invention is
also effective for ultrasonic probes (outer diameter 12 to 14 mm) 90 and 100 in which scanning
ultrasonic transducer arrays 91 and 101 are disposed at the tips 90a and 100a.
[0062]
The ultrasonic transducer array 91 shown in FIG. 17 uses the piezoelectric element array 33, and
the ultrasonic transducer array 101 shown in FIG. 18 uses the capacitive transducer array 51.
Although not shown, an imaging device 16 is mounted at the center of the support 11 as in the
above embodiment. Further, similar to the embodiment shown in FIG. 10, other components are
stacked so that the base end portion 30a of the flexible circuit board 30 is exposed, and the
exposed base end portion 30a is provided with the terminal portion 30b, The array wiring cable
19 is electrically connected to the terminal portion 30b. The basic structure of the ultrasonic
transducer arrays 91 and 101 is the same as that of the convex electronic scanning system of the
above embodiment except that a plurality of ultrasonic transducers are arranged concentrically,
so the same parts have the same reference numerals. The explanation is omitted.
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[0063]
It is an expanded sectional view showing composition of a tip of an ultrasonic probe to which the
present invention is applied. It is a top view which shows the example of an arrangement |
sequence of an ultrasonic transducer array, (A) is a one-dimensional array, (B) each shows a twodimensional array. It is an expanded sectional view showing composition of an ultrasonic
transducer array using a piezoelectric element array. It is a figure which shows the example
which included the amplifier and the switch in the electric circuit. FIG. 2 is a diagram showing an
example where an electric circuit includes an amplifier, a switch, and a multiplexer. FIG. 2 is a
diagram showing an example where an electric circuit includes an amplifier, a switch, and a
multiplexer. It is a figure showing the example which included an amplifier, a switch, a
multiplexer, and an A / D converter in an electric circuit. It is a figure showing the example which
included an amplifier, a switch, a multiplexer, an A / D converter, and a D / A converter in an
electric circuit. It is a figure which shows the example which arrange | positioned the multiplexer
for every line of an ultrasonic transducer array including a multiplexer in an electric circuit. It is
an expanded sectional view showing composition of a tip of an ultrasonic probe in another
embodiment. It is an expanded sectional view showing the composition of the ultrasonic
transducer array which used the capacitance type transducer array. It is a figure which shows the
example of arrangement | positioning of a capacitive-type transducer array. FIG. 2 is an enlarged
plan view of a capacitive transducer array. It is an expanded sectional view of an electrostatic
capacitance type vibrator array. It is explanatory drawing which shows the preparation
procedures of the ultrasonic transducer array which used the electrostatic capacitance type
transducer array. It is an expanded sectional view showing the composition by another
embodiment of the ultrasonic transducer array which used the capacity type transducer array. It
is a fragmentary sectional view showing the composition of the ultrasonic probe in which the
ultrasonic transducer array of the radial electronic scanning method using a piezoelectric
element array was arranged. It is a fragmentary sectional view showing the composition of the
ultrasonic probe in which the ultrasonic transducer array of the radial electronic scanning
method using an electrostatic capacitance type transducer array was arranged.
Explanation of sign
[0064]
2, 90, 100 ultrasonic probe 10, 50, 80, 91, 101 ultrasonic transducer array 11, 81 support 11b
proximal end portion 12 ultrasonic transducer 16 imaging device 19 wiring cable for array 30
flexible circuit board 30a proximal end 30b Terminal part 31 Electric circuit 32 Backing material
33 Piezoelectric element array 33a Piezoelectric element 34 Acoustic matching layer 38 Wiring
40 Amplifier 41 Switch 42 Multiplexer (MP) 43 A / D converter (A / D) 44 D / A converter (D) /
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A) 51 capacitive vibrator array 51a capacitive vibrator 70 silicon substrate 71 insulating layer 72
silicon layer 73 SOI substrate
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20
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