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DESCRIPTION JP2007014553

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DESCRIPTION JP2007014553
PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To change the direction of transmission and reception of ultrasonic
waves with respect to a substrate. SOLUTION: An ultrasonic probe comprises an ultrasonic
transducer 20 for transmitting and receiving ultrasonic waves, and a base 11 on which the
ultrasonic transducer 20 is mounted. In the ultrasonic transducer 20, a backing material 23, a
piezoelectric layer 24, and an acoustic matching layer 25 are sequentially stacked on a pedestal
22. The pedestal 22 is provided with a support portion 21 that pivotally supports the ultrasonic
transducer 20 with respect to the base 11. A pair of address electrodes 15 a and 15 b are formed
on the base 11 so as to sandwich the support portion 21. A bias electrode 28 is formed on the
pedestal 22 so as to face the address electrodes 15a and 15b. The ultrasonic transducer 20 can
be rocked by controlling the voltage of the address electrodes 15a and 15b and the bias
electrode 28, and the transmission / reception direction of the ultrasonic wave changes
accordingly. [Selected figure] Figure 3
Ultrasound probe
[0001]
The present invention relates to an ultrasonic probe which scans ultrasonic waves into a living
body by an ultrasonic transducer.
[0002]
BACKGROUND In recent years, medical diagnosis using ultrasonic images has been put to
practical use in the medical field.
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An ultrasonic image is obtained by irradiating an ultrasonic wave from a ultrasonic probe to a
required part of a living body and electrically detecting an echo signal from the living body with
an ultrasonic observation device connected via a connector. 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.
[0003]
As a drive system of an ultrasonic probe for body cavity diagnosis, an electronic scan 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. . As this electronic scan method, for example, a linear electronic scan
method in an ultrasonic probe formed by arranging a plurality of ultrasonic transducers in a onedimensional manner is known (for example, see Patent Document 1). Moreover, what applied
phase matching to electronic focus is known (for example, refer to patent documents 2). JP-A-6105396 JP-A-10-33530
[0004]
However, in the conventional ultrasonic probe as described above, the ultrasonic transducer is
fixed on the substrate, and the transmission / reception direction of ultrasonic waves can not be
changed relative to the substrate for each ultrasonic transducer. In order to change the focus
point, etc., only the electronic focus which applied phase matching was used. In addition, since
scanning with one ultrasonic transducer is impossible, it has been impossible to miniaturize
because it is necessary to arrange a plurality of ultrasonic transducers in an array.
[0005]
The present invention has been made in view of the above problems, and an object of the present
invention is to provide an ultrasonic probe capable of changing the transmission and reception
direction of ultrasonic waves with respect to a base.
[0006]
In order to achieve the above object, the present invention relates to an ultrasonic probe
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comprising an ultrasonic transducer for transmitting and receiving ultrasonic waves, and a base
on which the ultrasonic transducer is mounted, wherein the ultrasonic transducer relative to the
base is And an address electrode formed on the base, and a bias electrode formed on the
ultrasonic transducer so as to face the address electrode, and the address electrode and the bias
electrode are provided. An ultrasonic probe characterized by oscillating the ultrasonic transducer
by controlling a voltage of
[0007]
Preferably, the ultrasonic transducer is swung left and right around the contact point between
the support portion and the base body, and the address electrodes are respectively provided on
the left and right of the support portion.
[0008]
In addition, it is preferable that a plurality of the ultrasonic transducers are disposed in a onedimensional or two-dimensional manner on the substrate, and the ultrasonic transducers are
independently rocked.
[0009]
In addition, it is preferable that a sealing member that seals the sound wave transducer be
provided between the base and the substrate, and ultrasonic waves be transmitted and received
through the sealing member.
[0010]
Further, it is preferable that an ultrasonic transmission medium be filled in a space sealed by the
base and the sealing member.
[0011]
Further, it is also preferable to mechanically displace the substrate on which one ultrasonic
transducer is mounted while swinging the ultrasonic transducer.
[0012]
Preferably, the base is rotated in a direction substantially perpendicular to the swing direction of
the ultrasonic transducer.
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[0013]
According to the ultrasonic probe of the present invention, the support for pivotally supporting
the ultrasonic transducer on the base, the address electrode formed on the base, and the
ultrasonic transducer are formed to face the address electrode. Since the ultrasonic transducer is
oscillated by controlling the voltage of the address electrode and the bias electrode, the
transmission / reception direction of the ultrasonic wave can be changed with respect to the
substrate.
[0014]
In addition, since a plurality of ultrasonic transducers are disposed in a one-dimensional or twodimensional manner on the substrate and each ultrasonic transducer is independently oscillated,
the transmission and reception direction of ultrasonic waves is set for each ultrasonic transducer.
It is possible to change, and it is also possible to change the focus point of ultrasonic waves.
[0015]
Further, since the substrate on which one ultrasonic transducer is mounted is mechanically
displaced while the ultrasonic transducer is rocked, the scanning range of ultrasonic waves can
be expanded.
The ultrasonic scan can be performed three-dimensionally by rotating the base in a direction
substantially perpendicular to the swing direction of the ultrasonic transducer.
[0016]
In FIG. 1, an ultrasonic transducer array 10 is disposed at the tip 2a of an ultrasonic probe 2 to
which the present invention is applied.
The ultrasonic transducer array 10 is formed by arranging a plurality of ultrasonic transducers
20 in a one-dimensional array shown in FIG. 1A or a two-dimensional array shown in FIG. 1B on
a base 11.
[0017]
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The sheath 12 connected to the distal end portion 2 a of the ultrasonic probe 2 is provided with
a puncture needle channel 14 through which the puncture needle 13 is inserted.
In addition, an array wiring cable (not shown) for electrically connecting an ultrasonic
observation device (not shown) and the ultrasonic transducer array 10 is inserted through the
sheath 12 along the puncture needle channel 14. There is.
[0018]
FIG. 2 shows a longitudinal cross section taken along the line A-A 'of FIGS. 1 (A) and 1 (B).
The base 11 is a box-shaped structure whose upper side is opened.
A support 21 is provided at the center bottom of the ultrasonic transducer 20 so as to extend
downward, and the ultrasonic transducer 20 is swingably supported on the base 11 by the
support 21.
A pair of address electrodes 15 a and 15 b and a pair of landing electrodes 16 a and 16 b are
formed on the base 11 for each ultrasonic transducer 20.
[0019]
The opening of the base 11 is sealed by an acoustic window (sealing member) 17 formed of a
resin material such as polyethylene, and the space sealed thereby is filled with the ultrasonic
transmission medium 18.
The ultrasonic transmission medium 18 is intended to improve the transmission efficiency of
ultrasonic waves and to make the rocking motion of the ultrasonic transducer 20 smooth, and it
is a liquid such as water, an aqueous solution of carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), and saline. It
consists of
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An ultrasonic wave is transmitted and received between the ultrasonic transducer 20 and the
living body via the acoustic window 17.
[0020]
In FIG. 3, in the ultrasonic transducer 20, a backing material 23 made of ferrite rubber, a
piezoelectric element 24, and an acoustic matching layer 25 made of epoxy resin are sequentially
stacked on a pedestal 22 on which a support 21 is integrally formed. Become.
The piezoelectric element 24 has a configuration in which the upper and lower sides of the
piezoelectric layer 26 made of a thin film of PZT (lead zirconate titanate) are sandwiched
between the internal electrode layers 27a and 27b.
Further, on the lower surface of the pedestal 22, a bias electrode layer 28 is formed over the
entire surface including the lower surface of the support portion 21. The bias electrode layer 28
faces the address electrodes 15a and 15b on the base 11, and is electrically connected to the
electronic circuit 30 (see FIG. 4) formed in the base 11 from the contact point between the
support portion 21 and the base 11. There is.
[0021]
One of the internal electrode layers 27a and 27b of the piezoelectric element 24 is grounded,
and the other is connected to a transmission / reception switching circuit (not shown) via a
multiplexer (not shown). A pulse generation circuit and a voltage measurement circuit (not
shown) are connected to the transmission / reception switching circuit. The pulse generation
circuit applies a pulse voltage to the piezoelectric element 24 when generating an ultrasonic
wave from the ultrasonic transducer 20 (during transmission of the ultrasonic wave). The
ultrasonic transducer 20 selected by the multiplexer generates an ultrasonic wave of a
predetermined frequency (for example, 5 to 30 MHz) in the stacking direction of the piezoelectric
layer 26 and the internal electrode layers 27a and 27b.
[0022]
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In FIG. 4 showing the electronic circuit 30 configured in the base 11, one ultrasonic transducer
20 is provided with one static random memory (SRAM) cell 31. The SRAM cell 31 is a MOS
(Metal Oxide Semiconductor) that selectively connects two inverters 32a and 32b whose input
and output terminals are mutually connected and a node 33a on the input terminal side of the
inverter 32a to the bit line 34a. And a MOS switch 35b selectively connecting a node 33b on the
input terminal side of the inverter 32b to the bit line 34b. A word line 36 is commonly connected
to the gate electrodes of the MOS switches 35a and 35b.
[0023]
The SRAM cell 31 constitutes a so-called flip flop circuit, and holds binary data. That is, in the
SRAM cell 31, the node 33a is at the high level (for example 5V) and the node 33b is at the low
level (for example 0V), and the node 33a is at the low level (for example 0V) and the node 33b is
at the high level (for example 5V). Take the state of). This data is rewritten by a voltage drive
circuit (not shown) which applies a voltage to bit lines 34a and 34b and word line 36.
[0024]
The nodes 33a and 33b of the SRAM cell 31 are connected to the address electrodes 15a and
15b, and a voltage corresponding to the storage data of the SRAM cell 31 is applied to the
address electrodes 15a and 15b as described above. Further, a bias voltage Vb is commonly
applied to the landing electrodes 16 a and 16 b and the bias electrode layer 28 of the ultrasonic
transducer 20 from a voltage drive circuit.
[0025]
In the case of the one-dimensional array of FIG. 1A, the SRAM cells 31 are arranged onedimensionally in the direction of the bit lines 34a and 34b or the word line 36, and in the case of
the two-dimensional array of FIG. Are arranged two-dimensionally in the direction of bit lines 34
a and 34 b and word lines 36. By controlling the stored data of each SRAM cell 31 (the voltage of
the address electrodes 15a and 15b) and the bias voltage Vb, the electrostatic force between the
electrodes is changed, and each ultrasonic wave is generated with the contact point between the
support 21 and the base 11 as an axis. Transducers 20 can be rocked independently. Along with
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this, the transmission / reception direction of the ultrasonic wave changes for each ultrasonic
transducer 20.
[0026]
FIG. 5A shows a state in which one end of the ultrasonic transducer 20 is pivoted to the left so as
to abut on the landing electrode 16 a, and FIG. 5B shows the other end of the ultrasonic
transducer 20. It shows a state in which it is turned to the right so that the part abuts on the
landing electrode 16b. The ultrasonic transducer 20 oscillates to take between the two states.
[0027]
FIG. 6 shows a setting example of the ultrasonic transmission direction of each ultrasonic
transducer 20 in the ultrasonic transducer array 10 configured as described above. In the figure,
the ultrasonic transducer 20 is set to a horizontal state in the central region M, to the right (for
example 5 °) in the left region L, and to the left (for example 5 °) in the right region R It is
done. As a result, since the ultrasonic waves transmitted from the ultrasonic transducers 20 are
focused at the central portion, the signal ratio of the side lobe to the main lobe of the ultrasonic
wave can be reduced, and the S / N ratio can be improved. Also, the focus point of the ultrasonic
waves can be changed according to the set angle of each ultrasonic transducer 20.
[0028]
Further, in the configuration of FIG. 6, the ultrasonic transducer 20 included in the central area
M is used for acquiring an ultrasonic image for specifying the position of the affected part of the
living body, and the ultrasonic waves included in the left area L and the right area R Transducer
20 can also be used for ultrasound generation to treat the affected area.
[0029]
Although the above embodiment has been described by taking the ultrasound probe 2 of the
electronic scan type for scanning the inside of a living body by using a plurality of ultrasound
transducers 20 as an example, the present invention is not limited to this, and it is not limited
thereto. The present invention can also be applied to a mechanical scan type ultrasonic probe
which scans the inside of a living body by mechanically displacing (rotating, swinging, linear
driving, etc.) the acoustic transducer 20.
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[0030]
FIG. 7 shows an example of this machine scan type ultrasonic probe.
In the figure, a cap 42 is attached to the tip of the sheath 41 of the ultrasonic probe 40, and the
ultrasonic transducer 20 described above is built in the cap 42.
The ultrasonic transducer 20 is mounted on a base 44 to which the flexible shaft 43 is
connected, and the address electrodes 15a and 15b and the landing electrodes 16a and 16b
described above are formed on the base 44. The flexible shaft 43 is rotationally driven at a
predetermined rotational speed by a motor (not shown). Thereby, the base 44 on which the
ultrasonic transducer 20 is mounted is rotated about the central axis P of the flexible shaft 43.
The above-mentioned ultrasonic transmission medium 18 is filled in the cap 42.
[0031]
Further, the electronic circuit 30 shown in FIG. 4 is provided on the base 44, and the electronic
circuit 30 generates the voltages of the address electrodes 15a and 15b, the landing electrodes
16a and 16b, and the bias electrode layer 28 as described above. Control. As a result, the
ultrasonic transducer 20 pivots about the contact point between the support 21 and the base 44
in the direction along the central axis P of the flexible shaft 43 (the direction of the arrow C in
FIG. 7). Therefore, in the ultrasonic probe 40, the ultrasonic transducer 20 is swung with respect
to the base body 44, and the base body 44 is rotated in a direction substantially perpendicular to
the swing direction. It is possible to spread and perform three-dimensional scanning.
[0032]
In the above embodiment, complementary voltages are applied to the address electrodes 15a and
15b using the SRAM cell 31 in which two inverters 32a and 32b are connected to each other, but
the present invention is not limited to this. As shown in FIG. 8, it is also possible to apply
complementary voltages to the address electrodes 15a and 15b using one inverter. This figure
shows an example in which the inverter 32b and the MOS switch 35b are eliminated from the
SRAM cell 31, the input terminal of the inverter 32a is connected to the address electrode 15a,
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and the output terminal of the inverter 32a is connected to the address electrode 15b. In
addition, voltages may be individually applied to the address electrodes 15a and 15b.
[0033]
Further, in the above embodiment, a voltage is individually applied to the internal electrode
layers 27a and 27b of the piezoelectric element 24 with the bias electrode layer 28. However,
the present invention is not limited to this, and the internal electrode layers 27a and 27b may be
used. Alternatively, one of the electrodes 27 b may be electrically connected to the bias electrode
layer 28 to apply a common voltage. FIG. 9 shows an example of this, in which the internal
electrode layer 27b and the bias electrode layer 28 are electrically connected using the jumper
wire 50a. Further, a new electrode layer 51 is provided between the pedestal 22 and the backing
material 23, and the electrode layer 51 and the internal electrode layer 27a are electrically
connected using the jumper wire 50b. Furthermore, the electrode layer 51 extends into the
support portion 21, and at the contact point between the support portion 21 and the base 11, the
electrode layer 51 is electrically connected to the circuit in the base 11.
[0034]
In the above embodiment, the ultrasonic transducer 20 is swung like a seesaw by the support
portion 21 extended downward from the central bottom of the pedestal 22. However, the present
invention is not limited to this, and the ultrasonic wave is not limited thereto. The method of
supporting the transducer 20, the direction of oscillation, the angular range of oscillation, and
the like can be changed as appropriate.
[0035]
It is a top view which shows the structure of the front-end | tip part of the ultrasound probe to
which this invention is applied, (A) is a one-dimensional ultrasonic transducer array, (B) shows a
two-dimensional ultrasonic transducer array.
It is a longitudinal cross-sectional view which follows the A-A 'line | wire of FIG. It is a
longitudinal cross-sectional view which shows the structure of an ultrasonic transducer. It is a
circuit diagram which shows the structure of the electronic circuit in a base | substrate. It is a
longitudinal cross-sectional view which shows the state which the ultrasonic transducer rock |
fluctuated, (A) shows the state rotated to the left, (B) shows the state rotated to the right. It is a
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longitudinal cross-sectional view which shows the example of a setting of the ultrasonic wave
transmission direction of each ultrasonic transducer in an ultrasonic transducer array. FIG. 4 is a
cross-sectional view showing a mechanical scan type ultrasonic probe using the ultrasonic
transducer of the configuration of FIG. 3; It is a circuit diagram which shows the modification of
the electronic circuit of FIG. It is a longitudinal cross-sectional view which shows the modification
of the ultrasonic transducer of FIG.
Explanation of sign
[0036]
Reference Signs List 2 ultrasonic probe 10 ultrasonic transducer array 11 base 15a, 15b address
electrode 16a, 16b landing electrode 17 acoustic window 18 ultrasonic transmission medium 20
ultrasonic transducer 21 support portion 22 pedestal 23 backing material 24 piezoelectric
element 25 acoustic matching layer 26 piezoelectric Body layer 27a, 27b Internal electrode layer
28 Bias electrode layer 30 Electronic circuit 31 SRAM cell 40 Ultrasonic probe 43 Flexible shaft
44 Substrate
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