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DESCRIPTION JP2010258602

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DESCRIPTION JP2010258602
PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: In an ultrasonic probe having a piezoelectric vibrator whose surface
has a curved shape, dispersion of ultrasonic beam shape and focal position between arrays is
achieved by enhancing the dimensional accuracy of the curved shape of the piezoelectric vibrator
surface. To provide an ultrasonic probe which is small, low in parts cost, and easily
manufactured, and a method of manufacturing the same. SOLUTION: A sheet-like first flexible
cable 12, a piezoelectric vibrator 11 in which a plurality of notch grooves 18 parallel to the
thickness direction are formed, a sheet-like second flexible cable 13, and one or more layers An
ultrasonic probe 1 in which the laminated body 3 in which the acoustic matching layers 14 and
15 are sequentially laminated is fixed to the upper surface of the back load material 2 which is a
curved surface having a predetermined curvature in one direction, The curved surface of the
upper surface of the back load member 2 is formed on the curved surface of the predetermined
curvature in a state where the laminated body 3 is placed. [Selected figure] Figure 1
Ultrasonic probe and method of manufacturing the same
[0001]
The present invention is an ultrasonic probe connected to an ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus
capable of emitting an ultrasonic wave into the body of a subject and reflecting an image in the
body from an ultrasonic wave reflected at the boundary of body tissue etc. The present invention
relates to an ultrasonic probe having an improved focus accuracy of an ultrasonic beam and a
method of manufacturing the same.
[0002]
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1
2. Description of the Related Art Ultrasonic diagnostic apparatuses that transmit and receive
ultrasonic waves to a living body as a subject and observe the living body are in widespread use.
In the ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus, when transmitting and receiving an ultrasonic beam by
the connected ultrasonic probe, it is necessary to focus the ultrasonic beam.
[0003]
For focusing of the ultrasound beam, focusing of the array direction of the transducer elements
constituting the piezoelectric transducer provided in the ultrasound probe and generating the
ultrasonic wave, and irradiation of the ultrasound beam orthogonal to the array direction of the
transducer elements There are two types of focus in the direction. Among them, focusing in the
arrangement direction of the vibration elements is performed by delaying the transmission wave
applied to each transducer at the time of transmission, and delaying the reception wave of each
transducer at the time of reception. Focus is used. On the other hand, focusing of the ultrasonic
beam in the direction orthogonal to the arrangement direction of the vibrating element has been
performed using an acoustic lens made of silicone rubber provided in front of the vibrating
element. There are problems such as variations in focus position due to the lens and attenuation
at high frequencies. Therefore, instead of focusing using an acoustic lens, a method has been
proposed in which the surface of the piezoelectric vibrator has a concave shape with a
predetermined curvature.
[0004]
FIG. 10 is a view showing a method of manufacturing such a conventional ultrasonic probe in
which the surface of the piezoelectric vibrator has a concave shape having a predetermined
curvature. In FIG. 10, the state as viewed from the side direction of the ultrasonic probe is shown.
[0005]
As shown in FIG. 10, according to the conventional method of manufacturing the ultrasonic
probe 50, the hard back load material 51 having the upper surface of the concave surface shape
corresponding to the predetermined concave surface formed by the surface of the piezoelectric
vibrator 53 is used. In a state where the stacked body 52 in which the first flexible cable 54, the
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piezoelectric vibrator 53, the second flexible cable 55, the first acoustic matching layer 56, and
the second acoustic matching layer 57 are sequentially stacked is placed thereon Further, by
applying a predetermined pressure by the pressure plate 58, the back load material 51 and the
laminate 52 are formed and fixed.
[0006]
The lower surface (pressing surface) of the pressure plate 58 has a substantially bowl-like shape
having a curved surface shape curved in one direction corresponding to the shape of the upper
surface of the backing material 51, and the laminate is obtained by a predetermined uniform
pressure. The stack 52 is pressed from above the 52.
As a result, the laminate 52 is curved in accordance with the upper surface shape of the back
load member 51 and the lower surface shape of the pressure plate 58, and the members are in
close contact with each other. Further, in a state where the pressure plate 58 presses the
laminate 52, curing of an adhesive (not shown) which is interposed between the respective
members in advance is performed.
[0007]
In such a conventional ultrasonic probe 50, for example, the backing material 51 is formed of a
hard material in which a metal such as tungsten is mixed with an epoxy resin as a main
component. Further, the piezoelectric vibrator 53 is formed with a plurality of notch grooves (not
shown) in the direction orthogonal to the arrangement direction, and can be curved by applying
an external force by the pressure plate 58.
[0008]
In the conventional ultrasonic probe, the ultrasonic beam transmitted and received by the
piezoelectric vibrator 53 is thus bent by bending the laminate 52 in accordance with the curved
surface shape of the upper surface of the back load member 51 set in advance. Focusing can be
performed, and focusing of the ultrasonic beam can be performed without using an acoustic lens
(see Patent Document 1).
[0009]
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JP-A-11-317999
[0010]
However, in the above-described conventional ultrasonic probe manufacturing method, the
laminate 52 is sandwiched between the upper surface of the hard rear load member 51 and the
lower surface of the pressure plate 58 while applying a predetermined pressure to form a
predetermined shape. It is necessary that the convex shape of the lower surface (pressing
surface) of the pressure plate 58 and the concave shape of the upper surface of the back load
member 51 correspond with high accuracy because they are made to adhere to each other at the
same time as they are curved. Become.
[0011]
That is, as shown in FIG. 11A, the curvature of the concave surface of the upper surface of the
backing material 51 is R4, the thickness of the laminate 52 is t, and the curvature of the convex
surface of the pressure plate 58 is R5. Sometimes it is necessary to satisfy the relationship R5 =
R4-t.
In FIG. 11A and FIG. 11B to be described later, hatching is omitted to avoid complication of the
drawings.
[0012]
However, for example, in the case of R5 <R4-t, the back load material 51 is made closer to the
end in the left-right direction in FIG. 11A from the vicinity of the central axis 60 of the upper
surface concave curved surface of the back load material 51. The gap between the upper surface
and the stack 52 is increased.
For this reason, in the peripheral portion of the backing material 51, the thickness of the
adhesive layer becomes thick without sufficient transfer of the pressing force D by the pressure
plate, causing an electrical connection failure, or the piezoelectric vibrator of the laminate 52 The
53 surfaces (surfaces on the ultrasonic beam radiation direction side) can not maintain the
correct curvature, which may cause the focus characteristics of the ultrasonic beam to
deteriorate.
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Conversely, in the case of R5> R4-t, the distance between the back load material 51 and the stack
52 becomes wider near the central axis 60 of the back load material 51, and the end in the leftright direction in FIG. Since the gap is narrowed in the vicinity of the portion, the electrical
connection failure and the reduction of the focusing performance also occur, and the
piezoelectric vibrator 53 may be damaged by the pressing force D of the pressing plate 58.
[0013]
Further, in the above-described conventional method for manufacturing an ultrasonic probe, it is
also necessary to make the central axes of the pressure plate 58 and the back load member 51
coincide exactly when the laminated body 52 is pressed.
[0014]
As shown in FIG. 11B, in a state in which the central axis 60 of the upper surface concave shape
of the back load member 51 and the central axis 60b of the convex shape of the lower surface
(pressure surface) of the pressure plate 58 are shifted to the right in the figure by x2. When a
predetermined pressure D is applied to the stack 52 from above the stack 52, the pressing force
in the vicinity of the end of the stack 52 on the left side in the drawing becomes smaller than the
pressing force D in the vicinity of the central axis 60b.
As a result, the portion 61 between the backing material 51 and the laminate 52, and between
the members constituting the laminate 52, for example, the first acoustic matching layer 56 and
the second acoustic matching layer 57 in FIG. In the portion 62 between them, a thick portion of
the adhesive layer occurs. Also in this case, the electrical connection failure, the deterioration of
the focus characteristic, the breakage of the piezoelectric vibrator 53 and the like occur.
[0015]
Therefore, in the conventional ultrasonic probe manufacturing method, the electric performance
of the manufactured ultrasonic probe 50, the focus characteristic of the ultrasonic beam are
insufficient, or the upper surface curved surface shape of the back load member 51 Also, high
accuracy is required for the convex shape of the pressing plate 58 and position control between
members in the pressing and fixing process of the laminated body 52 by the pressing plate 58,
and the cost of parts such as the back load member 51 There is a problem that the
manufacturing cost of the acoustic wave probe is increased.
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[0016]
The present invention has been made to solve the above-described conventional problems, and in
an ultrasonic probe having a piezoelectric vibrator whose surface has a curved shape, the
dimensional accuracy of the curved shape of the piezoelectric vibrator surface is enhanced.
Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to provide an ultrasonic probe which can be
easily manufactured with a small variation in ultrasonic beam shape and focal position among
the arrays, low parts cost, and a method of manufacturing the same. Do.
[0017]
In order to solve the above-mentioned subject, an ultrasonic probe of the present invention is a
sheet-like 1st flexible cable, a piezoelectric vibrator in which a plurality of notch grooves parallel
to thickness direction were formed, and a sheet-like An ultrasonic probe fixed to the upper
surface of a back load material, which is a curved surface having a predetermined curvature in
one direction, and a laminated body in which the second flexible cable and the one or more
acoustic matching layers are sequentially laminated. The curved surface of the upper surface of
the back load material is formed on the curved surface with the predetermined curvature in a
state where the laminated body is placed.
[0018]
Further, according to the method of manufacturing an ultrasonic probe of the present invention,
a sheet-like first flexible cable, a piezoelectric vibrator in which a plurality of notch grooves
parallel to the thickness direction are formed, and a sheet-like second Stacking the multilayer
body on the upper surface of the back load material, which is a curved surface having a
predetermined curvature in one direction, and a laminating step of forming a laminated body in
which the flexible cable and the one or more acoustic matching layers are sequentially laminated
And applying pressure from a pressure plate having a pressing surface having a predetermined
shape from above the laminate to form the laminate and the upper surface of the backing
material in a shape conforming to the predetermined shape of the pressing plate. Bonding step
for curing the adhesive filled in the notch groove of the piezoelectric vibrator while maintaining
the shape of the deformation step, and bonding and fixing the laminate and the backing material
And have .
[0019]
In the ultrasonic probe of the present invention, the curved surface of the upper surface of the
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back load material is formed on a curved surface with a predetermined curvature in a state
where the laminated body is placed, so the dimension of the curved shape of the piezoelectric
vibrator The accuracy can be increased, and the variations in the shape of the ultrasonic beam
and the focal position between the arrays are reduced.
In addition, since the dimensional accuracy required for the back load material and the
manufacturing apparatus is lowered, the parts cost and the manufacturing cost can be reduced.
[0020]
Further, in the method of manufacturing an ultrasonic probe according to the present invention,
while maintaining the shape in the deformation step and the deformation step, the laminate and
the upper surface of the backing material are shaped according to the predetermined shape of
the pressure plate. Since the adhesive filled in the notch grooves of the piezoelectric vibrator is
cured and the bonding step for bonding and fixing the laminate and the backing material is
performed, the ultrasonic beam shape between the arrays and the focal position An ultrasonic
probe with a small variation of can be manufactured at low cost.
[0021]
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS It is a schematic sectional drawing which shows the
structure of the ultrasound probe concerning the 1st Embodiment of this invention.
It is a figure explaining the 1st effect of the ultrasonic probe concerning a 1st embodiment of the
present invention.
It is a figure explaining the 2nd effect of the ultrasonic probe concerning a 1st embodiment of
the present invention.
It is a schematic sectional drawing which shows the structure of the ultrasound probe concerning
the 3rd Embodiment of this invention.
It is a schematic sectional drawing which shows the structure of the comparative example of the
ultrasound probe concerning the 3rd Embodiment of this invention. It is a figure which shows
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the surface shape of the acoustic matching layer of the outermost surface of the ultrasonic probe
concerning 3rd Embodiment of this invention. It is a figure which shows the process of the first
half of the manufacturing method of the ultrasound probe of this invention. It is a figure which
shows the process of the second half of the manufacturing method of the ultrasound probe of
this invention. It is a perspective view which shows the completion state of the manufacturing
method of the ultrasound probe of this invention. It is a construction conceptual diagram which
shows the manufacturing method of the conventional ultrasonic probe. It is a schematic sectional
drawing which shows the subject of the conventional ultrasonic probe.
[0022]
According to an ultrasonic probe of the present invention, a sheet-like first flexible cable, a
piezoelectric vibrator in which a plurality of notch grooves parallel to the thickness direction are
formed, and a sheet-like second flexible cable An ultrasonic probe fixed to the upper surface of a
back load material, which is a curved surface having a predetermined curvature in one direction,
and a laminate in which one or more acoustic matching layers are sequentially stacked, the back
load material The upper surface is formed on a curved surface of the predetermined curvature in
a state in which the laminate is placed.
[0023]
By doing this, the curvature of the surface of the piezoelectric vibrator can be easily desired even
when the accuracy of the curvature of the curved surface of the upper surface (surface on the
piezoelectric element side) of the back load material formed beforehand is low. Since the
curvature can be made, it is possible to realize an ultrasonic probe excellent in the focusing
performance of the ultrasonic beam.
In addition, since the curved shapes of the backing material and the laminate can be easily
aligned, it is possible to obtain at low cost an ultrasonic probe in which a decrease in electrical
characteristics such as connection failure is suppressed.
[0024]
In the ultrasonic probe according to the present invention, the backing material is preferably a
material having thermoplasticity. By doing this, the back load material can be heated and easily
deformed into a predetermined shape, so that the curvature of the surface (surface on the
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ultrasonic beam radiation direction) of the piezoelectric vibrator can be accurately defined. Can.
[0025]
Moreover, it is preferable that the said back load material is a ferrite rubber. Since the soft ferrite
rubber backing material can be easily deformed into a predetermined shape, the curvature of the
surface of the piezoelectric vibrator can be accurately defined.
[0026]
Furthermore, the piezoelectric vibrator and the first flexible cable are connected by a first
electrode layer formed on the back surface of the piezoelectric vibrator, and the piezoelectric
vibrator and the second flexible cable are the same. The first electrode layer or the second
electrode layer is connected to a surface of at least one of the front surface and the back surface
of the piezoelectric vibration element, which is connected by a second electrode layer formed on
the front surface of the piezoelectric vibrator. It is preferable to have an ineffective region where
no electrode layer is formed.
[0027]
In this way, even if the shape of the upper surface of the back load material is deformed, the
curvature of the surface of the piezoelectric vibrator can be accurately maintained in the effective
aperture region of the piezoelectric vibrator.
[0028]
Further, according to the method of manufacturing an ultrasonic probe of the present invention,
a sheet-like first flexible cable, a piezoelectric vibrator in which a plurality of notch grooves
parallel to the thickness direction are formed, and a sheet-like second Stacking the multilayer
body on the upper surface of the back load material, which is a curved surface having a
predetermined curvature in one direction, and a laminating step of forming a laminated body in
which the flexible cable and the one or more acoustic matching layers are sequentially laminated
And applying pressure from a pressure plate having a pressing surface having a predetermined
shape from above the laminate to form the laminate and the upper surface of the backing
material in a shape conforming to the predetermined shape of the pressing plate. And curing the
adhesive filled in the notch groove of the piezoelectric vibrator while maintaining the shape in
the deforming step and bonding for fixing the laminate and the backing material together. And a
process.
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[0029]
By doing this, the curved shape of the laminate can be easily made to conform to the shape of the
pressing surface of the pressure plate, and the shape of the upper surface of the back load
material also conforms to the curved shape of the laminate Can be
For this reason, the curvature of the surface of the piezoelectric vibrator can be made as desired,
and adhesion between the members constituting the laminate and between the laminate and the
back load material is performed in a state where the members are in close contact with each
other. Thus, it is possible to provide a method of manufacturing an ultrasonic probe which does
not cause deterioration of electrical characteristics such as connection failure and breakage of
the piezoelectric vibrator.
For this reason, it is possible to inexpensively manufacture an ultrasound probe having excellent
focusing characteristics and electrical characteristics of the ultrasound beam.
[0030]
Hereinafter, an ultrasonic probe according to the present invention and a method of
manufacturing the same will be described with reference to the drawings.
[0031]
First Embodiment First, an ultrasonic probe according to the present invention will be described
as a first embodiment.
[0032]
FIG. 1 is a schematic cross-sectional view of a short axis direction of the ultrasonic probe 1
according to the present embodiment, that is, a bending direction of a predetermined curvature
formed on the upper surface thereof.
[0033]
In the ultrasonic probe 1 of the present embodiment, the laminate 3 is stacked on the backing
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material 2 having the upper surface of the concave curved surface shape, and is integrally fixed
with an adhesive.
In the laminate 3, a sheet-like first flexible cable 12, a piezoelectric vibrator 11, a second flexible
cable 13, a first matching layer 14 which is an acoustic matching layer, and a second matching
layer 15 are sequentially stacked. It is united by a thermosetting type adhesive (not shown)
disposed between the respective members.
[0034]
The back load member 2 is made of a thermoplastic material that becomes soft when it reaches a
certain temperature (melting temperature) or higher, changes its shape by applying an external
force, and then has a predetermined hardness when returned to normal temperature. .
As such a thermoplastic material, a material in which a microballoon or the like is mixed with an
epoxy, urethane rubber, acrylic resin or the like which can be deformed at 100 ° C. or less (for
example, the glass transition temperature is 100 ° C. or less) A material obtained by
impregnating a fiber cloth (cross) with a thermoplastic resin such as epoxy, urethane rubber,
acrylic resin or the like, or a polystyrene foam molded with polystyrene using a foaming agent is
epoxy, urethane rubber, acrylic A material impregnated with a thermoplastic resin such as a resin
can be used.
Since the piezoelectricity is lost when the polarized piezoelectric vibrator is placed in a high
temperature environment of 100 ° C. or higher, it is desirable to use a thermoplastic material
which can be deformed at 100 ° C. or lower.
[0035]
As shown in FIG. 1, the upper surface of the back load member 2 is concave in the direction
perpendicular to the scanning direction of the ultrasonic beam transmitted and received by the
piezoelectric vibrator 11, which is the short axis direction It is a curved surface.
The concave surface is formed as a surface having a predetermined curvature, for example, a
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curvature such that the radius of curvature is approximately equal to the focal length of the
ultrasonic beam to be irradiated, when the laminate 3 is placed on the upper surface thereof. It is
a thing. The preferred curvature of the concave surface differs depending on the type of
ultrasonic probe suitable for the target organ to be subjected to tomographic image examination.
For example, in an ultrasound probe designed mainly for tomographic imaging of the abdomen
and obstetrics and gynecology department (depicting an organ, determining the position of a
lesion, etc.), the focal length of the ultrasound beam is generally about 50 mm. The radius of
curvature of the concave surface is about 50 mm.
[0036]
More specifically, the curved surface shape of the upper surface of the back load material 2 of
the ultrasonic probe 1 of the present embodiment has a predetermined curvature from above in
a state where the laminate 3 is mounted on the upper surface of the back load material 2 The
pressure is applied by a pressing plate (not shown) having a convex pressing surface, and is
pressed and deformed into a concave shape having a predetermined curvature together with the
laminate 3, and an adhesive interposed between the respective members in a state in which the
members are in close contact It was formed by heat curing. For this reason, as described later,
the curved surface of the upper surface formed in the state of the back load material 2 alone
does not have to have a curvature with high dimensional accuracy, and the back load material 2
itself can be manufactured inexpensively Can.
[0037]
The back load member 2 mechanically damps the ultrasonic vibration from the piezoelectric
vibrator 11 on the back side of the piezoelectric vibrator 11 (the side opposite to the ultrasonic
beam emission direction, the lower side in FIG. 1), It has a function to widen the frequency band.
[0038]
A first flexible cable 12 composed of a sheet-like flexible wiring board constituting the laminate 3
is disposed on the concave curved surface of the upper surface of the back load material 2
through a thermosetting adhesive (not shown).
The first flexible cable 12 has a base 12b made of a polymer film such as polyimide, and a
copper layer formed on the base 12b corresponding to the piezoelectric vibrator 11 on the side
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of the piezoelectric vibrator 11, for example And an electrode pattern 12a. Further, both end
portions of the first flexible cable 12 extend in the left and right direction of FIG. 1 from the
laminated portion with the piezoelectric vibrator 11 and are drawn downward in FIG. 1 along the
side surface of the backing material 2 ing. Then, both leading end portions of the extending
portion are electrically connected to signal electric terminals (not shown). It is desirable that a
gold or nickel layer or the like be formed on the surface of the copper layer of the electrode
pattern 12a by vapor deposition, plating, sputtering or the like to perform an oxidation
prevention treatment.
[0039]
The piezoelectric vibrator 11 is a piezoelectric element using a piezoelectric ceramic such as PZT,
a single crystal, and a polymer such as PVDF. An electrode is formed on the front surface of the
piezoelectric vibrator 11, that is, the surface facing the second flexible cable 13 and the back
surface, that is, the surface facing the first flexible cable 12. , And the second flexible cable 13
can be connected. In the piezoelectric vibrator 11 according to this embodiment, the positive
electrode layer 16 as the first electrode layer is connected to the second flexible cable 13 on the
back surface connected to the first flexible cable 12. A ground electrode layer 17 as a second
electrode layer is formed, respectively. The positive electrode layer 16 and the ground electrode
layer 17 can be formed, for example, as a gold sputter electrode layer having a thickness of about
1000 Å which is effective for increasing the frequency. Alternatively, the positive electrode layer
16 and the ground electrode layer 17 can be interchanged to make the first electrode layer a
ground electrode layer and the second electrode layer a positive electrode layer.
[0040]
The piezoelectric vibrator 11 of the ultrasonic probe 1 of the present embodiment is mainly
formed with a plurality of notch grooves 18 in a direction parallel to the thickness direction, that
is, perpendicular to the front and back surfaces. It can be curved by applying an external force
from the side of the surface which is a surface. The inside of the notch groove 18 is filled in
advance with a thermosetting adhesive 19, and the piezoelectric vibrator 11 is heated and cured
in a state where the piezoelectric vibrator 11 is curved, so that the piezoelectric vibrator 11 and
the second mentioned later will be described. At the same time as bonding the flexible cable 13,
the strength can be secured while maintaining the predetermined curved surface shape of the
piezoelectric vibrator 11.
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[0041]
The second flexible cable 13 is stacked on the ground electrode layer 17 on the surface side of
the piezoelectric vibrator 11 via a thermosetting adhesive (not shown). Similar to the first flexible
cable 12, the second flexible cable 13 is formed on the base portion 13b made of polyimide and
on the side of the piezoelectric vibrator 11 of the base portion 13b so as to correspond to the
piezoelectric vibrator 11 For example, it is comprised with the electrode pattern 13a which
consists of copper layers. Similarly to the both ends of the first flexible cable 12, both ends of the
second flexible cable 13 extend in the lateral direction in FIG. It is drawn downward in FIG. 1
along the side surface, and is electrically connected to a signal electrical terminal (not shown). In
addition, it is the same as the 1st flexible cable 12 that it is desirable to perform an oxidation
prevention process on the copper layer surface of electrode pattern 13a.
[0042]
In the case of the present embodiment, the first flexible cable 12 functions as a signal lead thin
plate, and the second flexible cable 13 functions as a ground lead thin plate to apply a
predetermined driving voltage to the piezoelectric vibrator 11, A signal based on an ultrasonic
beam reflected by a living body is sent to an ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus (not shown).
[0043]
On the upper surface of the second flexible cable 13, an ultrasonic probe with a center frequency
of 3 MHz designed for the purpose of tomographic image inspection of an abdominal and
obstetrics and gynecology department, etc. In the feeler, a first matching layer 14 as an acoustic
matching layer made of a graphite (graphite) sheet corresponding to 0.25 mm) and a second
matching layer 6 are disposed, and the acoustics of the piezoelectric vibrator 1 etc. By matching
the impedance with the acoustic impedance of the living body as the subject, the transmission of
ultrasonic waves is improved.
[0044]
In the present embodiment, the ultrasonic probe 1 having the two acoustic matching layers of
the first matching layer 14 and the second matching layer 15 is described. The number of sheets
is not particularly limited as long as it is one or more layers, as long as the acoustic impedance
between the piezoelectric vibrator 11 generating the ultrasonic wave and the living body as the
subject can be obtained.
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Although the laminated body 3 has a configuration in which the first matching layer 14 and the
second matching layer 15 are both stacked on the second flexible cable 13, the first matching
layer is made of, for example, graphite or the like. The first matching layer may be provided
between the piezoelectric vibrator 1 and the second flexible cable 12.
[0045]
As described above, the laminated body 3 of the ultrasound probe 1 according to the present
embodiment has a convex pressing surface having a predetermined curvature in a state of being
mounted on the upper surface of the back load member 2 in FIG. Pressure is applied by a
pressure plate (not shown), and pressed and deformed into a concave shape having a
predetermined curvature like the upper surface 2 of the back load material.
For this reason, the surface of the piezoelectric transducer 11 of the ultrasonic probe 1 of the
present embodiment has a curved surface shape capable of focusing the ultrasonic beam with
high accuracy.
[0046]
Here, the operation of the ultrasonic probe 1 configured as described above will be described.
[0047]
A plurality of electric signals transmitted from the transmission unit of the ultrasonic diagnostic
apparatus main body (not shown) passes through a cable (not shown), and via the first flexible
cable 12, a piezoelectric vibration in which a plurality of piezoelectric vibrating elements are
arranged in an array It is applied to the child 11.
The piezoelectric vibrator 11 excites (transmits) an ultrasonic wave which is mechanical
vibration in response to the applied electric signal. The excited ultrasonic waves are acoustically
matched with the living body by the first matching layer 14 and the second matching layer 15,
and the surface of the piezoelectric vibrator 11 is formed into a concave shape having a
curvature. Is converged and transmitted to the living body. Further, the piezoelectric vibrator 11
generates (receives) an electrical signal in response to the ultrasonic wave returned from the
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living body by the piezoelectric effect. The received ultrasonic signal is converted into an electric
signal, and then transmitted through the second flexible cable 13 to the receiving unit of the
ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus main body via a cable (not shown).
[0048]
By processing the signal received by the receiving unit and displaying the image of the received
signal on the display unit of the ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus main body, it is possible to
confirm the image inside the patient's body on the monitor. Although these operations are similar
to those of the conventional ultrasonic probe, the ultrasonic probe 1 according to the present
embodiment is not limited to the transmission and reception methods of the above-mentioned
main body, but various methods are available. It can be used as a probe of an ultrasonic
diagnostic apparatus of another transmission / reception method.
[0049]
Next, the dimensional accuracy of the curved shape of the surface of the piezoelectric vibrator 11
of the ultrasonic probe 1 of this embodiment is high with reference to FIG. 2 and FIG. And that
the cost of parts is low and that they can be easily manufactured.
[0050]
2 (a) and 2 (b) are schematic cross-sectional views showing the manufacturing state of the
ultrasonic probe 1 of the present embodiment, and the problems in the conventional ultrasonic
probe 51 have been described. It is a drawing corresponded to Fig.10 (a).
As in FIG. 10, hatching of members is omitted in FIG. Further, the shape of the ultrasonic
transducer 11 shows only its outer shape.
[0051]
In the ultrasound probe 1 of the present embodiment, since the back load material 2 is made of a
thermoplastic material, the laminate 3 is placed on the back load material 2, and the back load
material 2 and the laminate When bonding and fixing 3 with a thermosetting adhesive, the
pressure plate 21 makes the surface of the laminate 3 a curved surface with a predetermined
curvature, and at the same time the curvature of the concave surface of the upper surface of the
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back load member 2 is also desired. be able to.
[0052]
That is, as shown in FIG. 2A, the curved surface R1 of the upper surface of the backing material 2
is exactly the same as the sum (R2 + T) of the curvature R2 of the convex curved surface of the
pressure plate 21 and the thickness T of the laminate 3 If not, for example, as shown in FIG. 2A,
when the relationship of R1> R2 + T is established, the distance 22 between the members of the
laminate 3 and the distance 23 between the backing material 2 and the laminate 3 In particular,
gaps occur in the vicinity of the periphery.
Conversely, although not shown, when the relationship of R1 <R2 + T is established, the vicinity
of the center of the back load material 2 and the laminate 3, that is, the concave surface of the
top surface of the back load material 2 and the pressing surface of the pressure plate 21. A gap is
generated in the vicinity of the central axis 24 of the convex curved surface.
[0053]
However, in the ultrasound probe 1 of the present embodiment, since the backing material 2 is
made of a deformable thermoplastic material at 100 ° C. or less, the backing material 2 and the
laminate 3 are thermally cured. The heat applied to bond with the mold adhesive first makes the
backing material 2 susceptible to deformation. Then, as shown in FIG. 2 (b), at least one of the
backing material 2 and the laminate 3 is heated, so that the temperature of the backing material
2 rises and the shape change occurs. When the pressing plate 21 is pressed by a predetermined
force A from the upper side of the laminate 3 with the pressing plate 21 in the above state, the
top surface of the back load material 2 has a shape conforming to the convex curved surface of
the bottom surface of the pressing plate 21. Then, a force B acts on the entire surface, and the
upper surface of the back load material 2 is made to conform to the curvature of the laminate 3
and deformed so as to have a predetermined curvature R1 (= R2 + T). In this state, the back load
material 2 and the laminate 3 are fixed and bonded with a thermosetting adhesive, whereby the
upper surface of the back load material 2 is formed into a curved surface with a predetermined
curvature.
[0054]
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17
FIGS. 3 (a) and 3 (b) are other schematic cross-sectional views showing the manufacturing state
of the ultrasonic probe 1 of the present embodiment, and the problems with the conventional
ultrasonic probe 51 are shown. It is drawing equivalent to FIG. 10 (b) described. In addition,
hatching of the member is abbreviate | omitted similarly to FIG. 2, and the shape of the ultrasonic
transducer | vibrator 11 has shown only the external shape.
[0055]
As shown in FIG. 3A, a state in which the central axis 24 of the upper surface concave shape of
the back load material 2 and the central axis 24b of the convex shape of the lower surface
(pressing surface) of the pressure plate 21 are shifted to the right in the drawing by "x1". Then,
when a pressing force is applied to the laminate 3 from above, the pressing force to the vicinity
of the end of the laminate 3 in the left part in the figure becomes smaller than the pressing force
to the center part or the right part in the figure, A portion 25 between the load material 2 and
the laminate 3 and a portion between the members constituting the laminate 3, for example, a
portion between the first matching layer 14 and the second matching layer 15 in FIG. 3A. At 26,
a thick part of the adhesive layer results.
[0056]
However, in the ultrasonic probe 1 of the present embodiment, since the back load member 2 is
made of a thermoplastic material, as shown in FIG. Is placed, and at least one of the back load
material 2 and the laminate 3 is heated and bonded and fixed with a thermosetting adhesive, the
heat transferred to the back load material 2 deforms the back load material 2 It becomes
possible.
Then, the pressing force A of the pressing plate 21 is transmitted as the pressing force B
dispersed on the upper surface of the back load material 2 through the laminate 3, and the
curvature of the concave surface of the upper surface of the back load material 2 is also desired.
it can. As a result, in the ultrasonic probe 1 according to the present embodiment, the poor
electric connection and the deterioration of the focusing characteristic as occurred in the
conventional ultrasonic probe 50 shown as FIG. And the piezoelectric vibrator 11 is not damaged.
[0057]
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18
As described above, in the ultrasound probe 1 of the present embodiment, the back load material
2 is made of a thermoplastic material. For this reason, in the state of the rear load member 2
alone, even if the curvature of the curved surface of the upper surface is not accurately formed,
heating is performed by the pressure plate 21 in a state where the laminate 3 is placed on the
rear load member 2 The convex curved surface shape of the pressure plate 21 which can obtain
high curved surface accuracy by metal processing by being pressed, and the thickness direction
dimension of the laminate 3 which can accurately control the thickness of each member The
shape of the upper surface of the backing material 2 can be accurately made predetermined. And
as a result, the curved-surface shape of the surface of the ultrasonic transducer 3 can also be
made into a desired thing according to said precision.
[0058]
According to the ultrasonic probe 1 of the present embodiment, the ultrasonic transducer 3
having a predetermined curvature in the direction orthogonal to the scanning direction of the
ultrasonic waves can be obtained, and between the transducer arrays Variations in the shape of
the ultrasonic beam and the focal position can be suppressed.
[0059]
Second Embodiment Next, another ultrasonic probe according to the present invention will be
described as a second embodiment.
[0060]
The ultrasonic probe according to the second embodiment is the ultrasonic wave according to
the first embodiment described above in which the back load material 2 is made of a
thermoplastic material in that the material of the back load material is ferrite rubber. It is
different from the probe.
The structure, shape, and the like of the members other than the back load material of the
ultrasonic probe according to the second embodiment are the same as those of the abovedescribed ultrasonic probe described in the first embodiment, so The detailed description given is
omitted.
[0061]
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19
In the ultrasonic probe according to the second embodiment, since the back load material is
formed of soft ferrite rubber, the convex shape of the lower surface (pressing surface) of the
pressure plate and the upper surface concave shape of the back load material are accurate. Even
if it does not correspond to the above, even if the central axis of the upper surface concave shape
of the back load material and the central axis of the convex shape of the lower surface (pressing
surface) of the pressure plate do not match, the back load material The shape of the upper
surface of the is likely to follow the convex shape of the lower surface of the pressure plate.
Therefore, as with the ultrasonic probe in the first embodiment described above, the radius of
curvature of the convex shape of the lower surface (pressing surface) of the pressure plate which
can have high dimensional accuracy, and the thickness of the laminate which can be controlled
with high accuracy as well. From the dimensions, the concave shape formed on the top surface of
the backing material can be made to have a desired curvature.
[0062]
Therefore, the radius of curvature of the surface of the ultrasonic transducer can be made as
desired also in the ultrasonic probe shown in the second embodiment, and variations in
ultrasonic beam shape and focal position among the transducer arrays can be made. Can be
reduced.
[0063]
In the piezoelectric transducer of the ultrasonic probe according to the present embodiment, a
plurality of cutout grooves parallel to the thickness direction are formed.
Therefore, when the laminate including the piezoelectric vibrator is placed on and fixed to the
upper surface of the backing material, the adhesive that has penetrated into the notch groove of
the piezoelectric vibrator is fixed, and the surface of the piezoelectric vibrator is It can be cured
while maintaining a desired curved surface state. Therefore, unlike the thermosetting material
used in the first embodiment, the back load material of the ultrasonic probe according to the
present embodiment has flexibility even after the heating and curing of the adhesive. Although
the ferrite rubber is used, the ultrasonic probe in a state of being laminated and fixed to the
laminate can obtain practical strength that does not cause deformation or the like during actual
use.
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[0064]
Third Embodiment Next, an ultrasonic probe according to a third embodiment of the present
invention will be described using the drawings.
[0065]
FIG. 4 is a schematic cross-sectional view showing the configuration of an ultrasound probe
according to a third embodiment of the present invention.
Moreover, FIG. 5 is a schematic sectional drawing which shows a structure as a comparative
example for making an understanding of the ultrasound probe concerning the 3rd Embodiment
of this invention easy.
[0066]
As shown in FIG. 4, the ultrasound probe 100 according to the third embodiment is the same as
the ultrasound probe 1 of the first embodiment described with reference to FIG. 1 or the
ultrasound probe 1 of the second embodiment. Compared to the acoustic wave probe, the
piezoelectric vibrator 30 forming the laminated body 3 is widely formed in the bending direction
which is the scanning direction of the ultrasonic beam, that is, in the left-right direction in FIG.
For example, in the ultrasonic probe 100 according to the present embodiment shown in FIG. 4,
the width of the piezoelectric vibrator 30 is set to the first adjustment layer 14 and the second
adjustment layer 14 which are stacked via the second flexible cable 13. The width is substantially
the same as the width of the adjustment layer 15.
[0067]
Further, in the piezoelectric vibrator 30 of the ultrasonic probe 100 of the present embodiment,
the ground electrode layer 17 connected to the second flexible cable 13 on the surface side
thereof is only at the central portion of the surface of the piezoelectric vibrator 30 It is formed
and not formed at its both end portions. As a result, in the piezoelectric transducer 30 of the
ultrasonic probe 100 of the present embodiment, only the width Y of the central portion actually
14-04-2019
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functions as an ultrasonic transducer with respect to the width Z of the surface. Therefore, the
peripheral portion of the surface of the piezoelectric vibrator 30 is not connected to the second
flexible cable 13, in the sense that it does not function as an ultrasonic vibrator contrary to the
effective aperture region functioning as an ultrasonic vibrator. "Invalid" is an invalid area 27. In
the ultrasonic probe 100 of the present embodiment shown in FIG. 4, the width of the
piezoelectric vibrator 30 is wide, and the ineffective region 27 where the ground electrode layer
17 on the surface side of the piezoelectric vibrator 30 is not formed is The ultrasonic probe 1 is
the same as the ultrasonic probe 1 of the first embodiment shown in FIG. For this reason, the
same code | symbol is provided to the part of the structure same as the ultrasound probe 1
concerning 1st Embodiment shown in FIG. 1, and the detailed description is abbreviate | omitted.
Also in FIGS. 4 and 5, the hatching of each member is omitted as in FIGS. 2 and 3.
[0068]
In the ultrasonic probe 100 of the present embodiment, in order to narrow the formation region
of the ground electrode layer 17 with respect to the surface of the piezoelectric vibrator 30, the
ground electrode layer 17 is formed on the piezoelectric vibrator 30 by gold sputtering. When
performing this, it is possible to use a method such as masking the portion to be the ineffective
region 27 or a method such as scraping a predetermined portion of the surface of the
piezoelectric vibrator 30 with a dicing blade as described later. The area can be easily formed as
the ineffective area 27.
[0069]
As described above, in the ultrasonic probe according to the present embodiment, although the
peripheral portion of the surface of the piezoelectric vibrator 11 is the ineffective region 27, the
operation and effect of this configuration are shown in FIG. I will explain in contrast with.
[0070]
Unlike the ultrasonic probe 100 of the third embodiment shown in FIG. 4, in the ultrasonic probe
100b of the comparative example shown in FIG. 5, the width of the piezoelectric transducer 30b
forming the laminate 3 is the third. The width is smaller than the widths of the first adjustment
layer 14 and the second adjustment layer stacked via the two flexible cables 13.
Moreover, in the comparative example 100b shown in FIG. 5, the ground electrode layer 17
which is a 2nd electrode layer is formed in the whole surface of the piezoelectric vibrator 30b of
the ultrasonic probe 100b, and all the area | regions are effective opening area | regions. Thus,
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22
the ineffective region 27 as in the ultrasonic probe 100 of the third embodiment shown in FIG. 4
is not provided.
[0071]
In the case of such a comparative example shown in FIG. 5, when the laminate 3 is bent in the
lower direction in FIG. 5 along the side surface of the back load member 2 in the manufacturing
process of the ultrasonic probe. In some cases, the curved surface of the surface of the acoustic
matching layers 14 and 15 forming the laminate 3 may not have a predetermined curvature.
[0072]
In the ultrasound probe 1 according to the present invention, as shown in the first embodiment,
the back load material 2 is formed of a thermoplastic material, or as shown in the second
embodiment, the back surface The load material 2 is formed of ferrite rubber.
Therefore, the side end portions of the first flexible cable 12 and the second flexible cable 13
that function as the signal lead thin plate and the ground lead thin plate of the laminate 3 are
bent along the side of the back load member 2 and the both ends are bent. When connecting to a
signal electric terminal (not shown), the tension shown as arrow C in FIG. 4 and FIG. 5 in the first
flexible cable 12 and the second flexible cable 13 is directed downward in the figure. Applied.
At this time, the shoulder portion 28 of the backing material 2, that is, the boundary portion
between the curved portion on the upper surface and the side wall portion is deformed to cause
"swelling" as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5.
[0073]
The first flexible cable 12, the piezoelectric vibrator 11, the second flexible cable 13, the first
matching layer 14, and the second matching layer 15 are sequentially arranged according to the
deformation ("dropping") of the backing material 2. The end portion of the stacked body 3
stacked is also deformed. As a result, the curvature of the acoustic matching layer located on the
outermost surface for transmitting and receiving the ultrasonic beam, in particular, the surface
29 of the second matching layer 15 in the case of the present embodiment, has a predetermined
curvature R3 in the peripheral region 31 thereof. I can not keep it.
14-04-2019
23
[0074]
In this case, in the ultrasonic probe 100 of the present embodiment shown in FIG. 4, the width of
the piezoelectric vibrator 30 has the same width as that of the ultrasonic matching layers 14 and
15 and the surface of the piezoelectric vibrator 30 Since the ineffective region 27 is formed in
the peripheral portion, in the effective opening region of the central portion of the piezoelectric
vibrator 30, the curvature of the surface 29 of the acoustic matching layers 14 and 15 on the
outermost surface accurately depicts the predetermined curvature R3. ing. On the other hand, in
the ultrasonic probe 100b of the comparative example shown in FIG. 5, the width of the
piezoelectric transducer 30b is narrower than the width of the acoustic matching layers 14, 15,
and all the surfaces of the piezoelectric transducer 30b are effective. Since it is an opening
region, the shape of the acoustic matching layers 14 and 15 is deformed in the portion 31 near
the end of the effective opening region, and the curvature of the surface 29 of the acoustic
matching layers 14 and 15 in the portion 31 is predetermined. The curvature R3 is not drawn.
[0075]
FIG. 6 is an image diagram showing the shape of the surface of the outermost acoustic matching
layer, ie, the second matching layer 15, of the ultrasonic probe according to the third
embodiment shown in FIG.
[0076]
FIG. 6A shows the relationship between the height h of the surface of the second matching layer
15 and the horizontal distance x, and FIG. 6B shows the surface of the second matching layer 15.
The relationship between the radius of curvature r and the horizontal distance x is shown.
[0077]
As shown in FIGS. 6A and 6B, the entire surface of the second matching layer 15 of the ultrasonic
probe 100 according to the present embodiment corresponds to the entire area Z corresponding
to the surface of the piezoelectric vibrator 30. The degree of change of the height h with respect
to the horizontal distance x is disturbed in the peripheral portion 31 of the surface 29
corresponding to the invalid region 27 out of the effective region Y, and the value of the
curvature radius r with respect to the horizontal distance x is also It is disturbed in the peripheral
area 31 on both sides.
14-04-2019
24
However, it can be seen that, in the portion of the effective area Y, a constant curvature r is
maintained according to the change of the horizontal distance x.
[0078]
In the third embodiment, in order to narrow the width Y of the effective region with respect to
the width Z of the piezoelectric vibrator 30, the formation region of the second electrode layer
17 formed on the surface side of the piezoelectric vibrator 30. However, the present invention is
not limited to this, and the width of the piezoelectric vibrator 30 can also be reduced by
narrowing the formation region of the first electrode layer 16 on the back surface side of the
piezoelectric vibrator 30, ie, the back load member 2 side. The width of the effective area Y with
respect to Z can be narrowed.
[0079]
As described above, the ultrasonic probe 100 according to the present embodiment is provided
with the ineffective area 27 which does not contribute to the transmission and reception of the
ultrasonic wave in the piezoelectric vibrator 30 so that the thermoplastic resin or the soft ferrite
rubber is used as the back load material 2. Can be used to suppress the decrease in the accuracy
of the concave curvature shape on the surface of the piezoelectric vibrator 30 and the variation
in the shape of the ultrasonic beam and the focal position among the arrays.
[0080]
Fourth Embodiment Next, a method of manufacturing an ultrasonic probe according to the
present invention will be described as a fourth embodiment of the present invention.
[0081]
7 and 8 are schematic cross-sectional views showing respective steps of the method of
manufacturing an ultrasonic probe according to the present embodiment.
[0082]
First, as shown in FIG. 7A, the first electrode layer 16 and the second electrode layer 17 are
formed on both surfaces of the piezoelectric vibrator 11 by gold sputtering.
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25
In the present embodiment, the first electrode layer 17 is a positive electrode layer, and the
second electrode layer 17 is a ground electrode layer.
[0083]
Next, as shown in FIG. 7B, for example, a first flexible cable placed on a flexible cable fixing jig 32
having adhesiveness to a polyimide base material made of a silicone rubber sheet, for example.
The piezoelectric vibrator 11 is stacked on top of 12.
Here, the first flexible cable 12 is disposed such that the first electrode layer 16 of the
piezoelectric vibrator 11 and the electrode pattern 12a face each other with the electrode pattern
12a on the upper side.
[0084]
The first flexible cable 12 and the piezoelectric vibrator 11 heat and press the thermosetting
adhesive (not shown) applied in advance under high pressure (40 g / mm <2> as an example),
and fix them. Do.
For example, when a two-component epoxy adhesive 353ND (trade name) of US Epoxy
Technology Co., Ltd. is used as a thermosetting adhesive, the standard curing temperature and
time are 60 ° C. and 90 minutes.
[0085]
In the present embodiment, the method of directly laminating the flexible cable fixing jig 32 and
the first flexible cable 12 has been described, but for example, the flexible cable fixing jig 32 and
the first flexible cable 12 In between, a plate made of the same material as the backing material 2
is interposed, and the plate and the base portion 12b of the first flexible cable 12 are pressurewelded and fixed via the thermosetting adhesive, It is also possible to employ a method of using
as the carrier of the laminated body 3 and loading and fixing the plate together with the
laminated body 3 on the upper surface of the backing material 2 as it is.
14-04-2019
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[0086]
Next, the notch 18 parallel to the thickness direction is formed in the piezoelectric vibrator 11.
Specifically, as shown in FIG. 9 (a), the dicing blade 33 has a predetermined pitch of 0.1 to 0.5
mm, for example, from one end to the other end in the longitudinal direction of the piezoelectric
vibrator 11. Then, dicing is performed in the direction of the arrow 34 to form a piezoelectric
vibrator column.
The width of the notch groove 18 at this time is about 10 μm to 100 μm.
[0087]
When dicing the piezoelectric vibrator 11 with the dicing blade 33, the first electrode layer 16 of
the piezoelectric vibrator 11 or the electrode pattern 12a of the first flexible cable 12 is not cut,
but at least the first The flexible cable 12 or the first flexible cable 12 and the first electrode
layer 16 are left undivided.
[0088]
Next, as shown in FIG. 7 (d), the thermosetting adhesive 19 is poured into the formed notch
groove 18.
[0089]
As shown in the third embodiment, in the case where the vicinity of the end portion of the
surface of the piezoelectric vibrator 11 is set as the ineffective region 27, the left and right end
portions of the piezoelectric vibrator 11 in FIG. When the cutting height of the dicing blade 33 is
set to a height 35 at which the electrode layer 27 is cut and removed over a predetermined range
(range of the ineffective region 27), and a narrow pitch (for example, a 10 to 100 μm wide
dicing blade is used) When it is moved in the direction of the arrow 34 at a pitch of 10 μm or
the like, the second electrode layer 18 on the surface of the piezoelectric vibrator 11 can be cut
only at the ineffective region 27 except for the effective opening region.
[0090]
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27
Next, as shown in FIG. 8A, the second flexible cable 13 is stacked on the second electrode layer
17 of the piezoelectric vibrator 11.
At this time, the second flexible cable 13 causes the electrode pattern 13 a to face the second
electrode layer 17 side of the piezoelectric vibrator 11, and the electrode pattern 13 a of the
second flexible cable 13 and the second flexible cable 13 The second electrode layer 17 is to be
connected.
[0091]
Next, a thermosetting adhesive (not shown) is applied onto the second flexible cable 13, and the
first matching layer 14 is placed thereon.
Further, the second matching layer 15 is stacked and mounted on the first matching layer 14 via
a thermosetting adhesive (not shown).
[0092]
By doing this, the laminate 3 in which the first flexible cable 12, the piezoelectric vibrator 11, the
second flexible cable 13, the first matching layer 14, and the second matching layer 15 are
sequentially formed is formed. .
The laminate 3 is placed on the flexible cable fixing jig 32, as shown in FIG. 8 (b).
At this time, the laminate 3 has a planar shape, as shown in FIG.
[0093]
Next, the back load material 2 is placed on a pressure device or the like (not shown), and the
thermosetting adhesive 37 is applied to the concave portion of the top surface of the back load
material 2. The laminate 3 removed from the flexible cable fixing jig 32 is placed on the back
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28
load member 2. At this time, as shown in FIG. 8C, the base portion 12b of the first flexible cable
12 is set to the back load member 2 side.
[0094]
As described above, when the plate of the same material as the back load material 2 is provided
between the flexible cable fixing jig 32 and the first flexible cable 12, the laminate 3 and the
plate are , Will be placed on the back load material 2.
[0095]
Subsequently, the stack 3 is pressed from above by the pressing plate 21 which is provided in a
pressing device (not shown) and which can be moved up and down.
[0096]
The lower surface (pressing surface) of the pressure plate 21 has a substantially wedge shape
having a convex shape with a predetermined curvature R, and the laminate 3 has a uniform
predetermined pressure A (for example, 40 g / mm <2>, At the same pressure as the step shown
in FIG.
Then, the thermosetting adhesive is cured in a state in which the pressure plate 21 presses the
laminate 3.
Specifically, while maintaining the pressed state by the pressure plate 21, it is introduced into a
thermosetting furnace or the like, and the temperature at which the thermoplastic material
softens for a predetermined time (for example, as a thermosetting adhesive, US Pat. When the
two-component epoxy adhesive 353ND (trade name) is used, the curing treatment is carried out
at 90.degree. For about 60 minutes.
[0097]
At this time, for example, as described in the first embodiment, when the back load member 2 is
made of a thermoplastic material, the back load member 2 is deformed into a concave shape
corresponding to the pressing surface of the pressing plate 21. Therefore, it is possible to
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29
suppress the electrical connection failure and the variation of the acoustic performance due to
the breakage of the piezoelectric vibrator 11 and the variation of the thickness of the adhesive
layer (not shown) interposed between the members of the laminate 3.
[0098]
After the thermosetting adhesive is cured, when pressing by the pressure plate 21 is released, the
surfaces of the piezoelectric vibrator 11, the first matching layer 14, and the second matching
layer have a curved surface with a predetermined curvature. The body 3 is in a state of being
fixedly formed on the backing material 2.
[0099]
Also, as in the second embodiment, when the back load material 2 is made of soft ferrite rubber,
the adhesive of the piezoelectric vibrator 11 is pressed in a state where it is pressed by the
pressure plate 21. By curing, the piezoelectric vibrator 11 has a predetermined strength while
maintaining a predetermined curved shape.
[0100]
Finally, dicing is performed at a predetermined pitch from the second flexible cable 13 side to
divide the piezoelectric vibrator 11 into a plurality of electrically independent arrays 38.
The width p of the incised groove at this time is about 10 μm to 100 μm.
[0101]
Thereafter, by bending the first flexible cable 12 and both side end portions of the second
flexible cable 13 along the side surfaces of the back load member 2, the ultrasonic probe 1
having a shape shown in FIG. 9 is obtained. be able to.
[0102]
As described above with reference to FIGS. 7 to 9, according to the method of manufacturing an
ultrasonic probe of the present embodiment, the preset convex curvature R of the pressure plate
21 having a substantially wedge shape is used. Accordingly, by bending the laminated body 3,
the ultrasonic beam transmitted and received by the piezoelectric vibrator 11 can be focused in
the direction orthogonal to the arrangement direction of the vibration elements, and the
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30
ultrasonic wave is not used without using the acoustic lens. The beam can be focused.
[0103]
Further, according to the manufacturing method of the present embodiment, the pressure is
applied by the pressure plate 21 having the convex pressing surface having the predetermined
curvature R, and the laminate 3 is pressed and deformed into the concave shape having the
predetermined curvature. With the members in close contact with each other, heat curing of the
adhesive interposed between the members is performed.
At this time, when the thermoplastic back load material 2 is used, the back load material 2 is
deformed into a concave shape corresponding to the pressing surface of the pressure plate 21 by
the heat for curing the adhesive. It is possible to effectively prevent the breakage of the vibrator
11 and to suppress the electrical connection failure and the variation in acoustic performance
due to the variation in thickness of the adhesive layer interposed between the members of the
laminate 3.
[0104]
Further, by processing the radius dimension of the convex shape of the lower surface (pressing
surface) of the pressure plate 21 with high accuracy, high accuracy is not required as the shape
of the upper surface concave surface of the backing material 2.
In addition, it is not necessary to match the central axis of the concave shape on the upper
surface of the back load member 2 and the central axis of the convex shape on the lower surface
(pressure surface) of the pressure plate 21 with high accuracy.
For this reason, manufacture of an ultrasound probe becomes easy and low cost.
[0105]
Furthermore, the direction of the ultrasonic beam can be easily determined according to the
convex shape of the lower surface (pressure surface) of the pressure plate, and the beam
characteristics can be easily improved.
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31
[0106]
The ultrasonic probe and the method of manufacturing the same according to the present
invention have been described above in all the embodiments, taking the case where the upper
surface of the back load material has a concave shape as an example.
However, the ultrasonic probe of the present invention and the method of manufacturing the
same are not limited to this, and the upper surface of the back load material may have a convex
shape as needed.
[0107]
Further, in the description of each of the above embodiments, the linear ultrasonic probe in
which the piezoelectric transducers are linearly arranged has been described, but other convex
type or matrix array type ultrasonic probes are described. It is also possible to practice the
invention as well.
[0108]
In each of the above embodiments, an example in which a plurality of notched grooves having a
depth smaller than the thickness of the piezoelectric vibrator is formed to bend the piezoelectric
vibrator has been described. Even in the completely divided form, that is, in the form in which the
notch grooves have the same depth as the thickness of the piezoelectric vibrator and the
individual vibrators are completely separated, the invention is similarly applied. An ultrasonic
probe having an accurate curved surface shape can be realized at low cost.
[0109]
The present invention relates to an ultrasonic probe connected to an ultrasonic diagnostic
apparatus capable of emitting an ultrasonic wave into the body of a subject and displaying an
image in the body from the ultrasonic wave reflected at the boundary of each internal tissue. The
present invention can be used as an ultrasonic probe including a piezoelectric transducer having
a curved shape with high accuracy, and a method of manufacturing the same.
[0110]
DESCRIPTION OF SYMBOLS 1 Ultrasonic probe 2 Back load material 3 Laminated body 11
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Piezoelectric vibrator 12 1st flexible cable 13 2nd flexible cable 14 1st matching layer (acoustic
matching layer) 15 2nd matching layer (acoustic matching layer) 16 first electrode layer 17
second electrode layer 18 notched groove 19 thermosetting adhesive 21 pressure plate 27
ineffective region
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