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DESCRIPTION JP2012039495

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DESCRIPTION JP2012039495
The present invention provides an ultrasonic probe including a plurality of transducer elements,
in which the mutual interference of the plurality of transducer elements is suppressed, and a
method of manufacturing the same. SOLUTION: A plurality of vibrating elements 18 arranged in
a two-dimensional array, a conductor foil 20 provided on the whole or a part of the side surface
of the vibrating layer 10 formed by the plurality of vibrating elements 18, Matching portion, and
a backing layer 16 provided on the lower surface of the vibration layer 10 and including a signal
path leading to the vibration layer 10, and the matching portions are separated grooves 26 to
correspond to the plurality of vibration elements 18 A plurality of conductive matching elements
24 which are separated and two-dimensionally arranged on the top surface of the vibration layer
10, and are provided on the top surface of the first conductive matching layer 12 formed by the
conductive matching elements 24 and have separation grooves. And a second conductive
matching layer 14. [Selected figure] Figure 1
Ultrasonic probe and method of manufacturing the same
[0001]
The present invention relates to an ultrasonic probe including a plurality of two-dimensionally
arranged transducer elements, and a method of manufacturing the same.
[0002]
Ultrasonic diagnostic apparatuses are widely used in the medical field.
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The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus transmits ultrasonic waves into a living body and receives
ultrasonic waves reflected in the living body. Then, based on the received ultrasound, image data
representing a tissue in a living body is generated and displayed on the display.
[0003]
The image display mode of the ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus includes a mode for displaying a
two-dimensional image (tomographic image), a mode for displaying a three-dimensional image,
and the like. The former tomographic image is formed based on frame data (two-dimensional
ultrasound data) acquired by one-dimensional scanning of an ultrasonic beam, and the latter
three-dimensional image is volume data acquired by two-dimensional scanning of an ultrasonic
beam It is formed on the basis of
[0004]
The ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus includes an ultrasonic probe that transmits an ultrasonic
wave corresponding to a given electric signal and outputs an electric signal corresponding to the
received ultrasonic wave. The ultrasound probe includes an array-type ultrasound probe that can
electrically scan an ultrasound beam. A plurality of transducer elements are arranged in the array
type ultrasonic probe. The transmission direction of the ultrasonic waves can be directed to a
specific direction by adjusting the delay time of the signal applied to each transducer. Further, by
combining the signals output from the respective transducer elements in accordance with the
received ultrasonic waves while adjusting the delay times for the respective signals, it is possible
to obtain a reception signal for the ultrasonic waves arriving from a specific direction. Therefore,
scanning of the ultrasonic beam can be performed by changing the signal delay time for each
transducer.
[0005]
In the case of a 1D array-type ultrasonic probe that performs one-dimensional scanning, the
ultrasonic beam can be scanned within a scanning plane in which the transducer elements are
arranged in a line and defined by the array direction of the transducer elements. In addition, in
the case of a 2D array type ultrasonic probe that performs two-dimensional scanning, the
transducer elements may be arranged in the longitudinal direction and the lateral direction, and
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the ultrasound beam may be scanned in the oblique direction as well as the longitudinal direction
and the lateral direction. it can.
[0006]
Furthermore, in the case of the 1.5D array ultrasonic probe, as in the 2D array ultrasonic probe,
the transducer elements are arranged in the longitudinal direction and the lateral direction. Then,
for each set of longitudinally arranged vibrating elements, a predetermined signal delay time is
assigned to each longitudinally arranged vibrating element, and an ultrasonic beam is generated
within the scanning plane defined thereby. Can be scanned.
[0007]
FIG. 5 shows an example of the configuration of a conventional ultrasonic probe. 5 (a) is a
perspective view thereof, and FIG. 5 (b) is a cross-sectional view taken along the line CD in FIG. 5
(a). In this ultrasonic probe, the electrodes 34 are provided on both surfaces of the plate-like
piezoelectric member 22, and the separation grooves 38 which start from the lower electrode 34
and do not reach the upper electrode 34 are provided. Each section divided by the separation
groove 38 forms a vibrating element 18. The upper electrode 34 of the piezoelectric member 22
is used as a ground conductor of each vibrating element 18, and the divided lower electrode 34
is used as a signal electrode of each vibrating element 18.
[0008]
A nonconductive acoustic matching layer 36 is provided on the upper electrode 34 of the
piezoelectric member 22. The acoustic matching layer 36 intervenes between the vibrating
element 18 and the living body during living body observation, and matches the acoustic
impedance between the living body and the vibrating element 18. By providing the acoustic
matching layer 36, the ultrasonic waves reflected at the interface between the ultrasonic probe
and the living body are reduced.
[0009]
Patent Documents 1 and 2 below describe an ultrasonic probe in which a plurality of transducer
elements are arrayed, and an acoustic matching layer is superimposed on a layer in which the
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transducer elements are arrayed.
[0010]
JP 2001-309497 JP JP 2003-230194
[0011]
In the ultrasonic probe shown in FIG. 5, when the separation groove 38 is extended to the upper
electrode 34 and the upper electrode 34 is divided, the structure for connecting the ground
conductor to each transducer element 18 becomes complicated.
Therefore, the separation groove 38 does not extend to the upper electrode 34, and the upper
electrode 34 is used as a common ground conductor for the respective vibrating elements 18.
However, in such a structure, the plurality of transducer elements 18 may mutually affect the
vibration state, which may affect the directivity characteristics of the ultrasonic beam.
[0012]
The present invention is made to such a subject. That is, it is an object of the present invention to
provide an ultrasonic probe in which mutual interference of a plurality of transducer elements is
suppressed in an ultrasonic probe including a plurality of transducer elements, and a method of
manufacturing the same.
[0013]
According to the present invention, a plurality of two-dimensionally arranged vibrating elements,
a conductor surface provided on all or part of the side surface of the vibrating layer formed by
the plurality of vibrating elements, and a matching portion provided on the upper surface of the
vibrating layer And a backing layer provided on the lower surface of the vibration layer and
including a signal path leading to the vibration layer, wherein the matching portions are
separated by separation grooves so as to correspond to the plurality of vibration elements, A
plurality of conductive matching elements arranged two-dimensionally on the upper surface of
the vibration layer, and a non-separating conductive layer provided on the upper surface of the
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matching element layer formed by the conductive matching elements and having no separation
groove; The backing layer forms a side surface of the vibration layer among the plurality of
vibration elements, and a ground wire connected to a dummy vibration element provided with a
conductor surface on the side surface, and the plurality of vibration elements , Forming the side
of the vibration layer A signal line connected to an effective vibration element surrounded by the
dynamic element, and the ground conductor of the effective vibration element is provided on the
corresponding conductive matching element, the non-separating conductive layer, and the
dummy vibration element corresponding thereto It is characterized in that it is connected to the
ground line through the specified conductor surface.
[0014]
Further, according to the present invention, in the method of manufacturing an ultrasonic probe,
a conductor surface attaching step of attaching a conductor surface across the entire side surface
or a part of the side surface of the plate-like vibrating member and the upper and lower surfaces;
A first conductive layer fixing step of fixing the first conductive layer on the upper surface of the
vibration layer with a conductor surface formed by the step; and a backing layer including a
signal path leading to the vibration layer with the conductor surface; Forming a backing layer
fixing step on the lower surface of the first conductive layer, and a separation groove extending
from the upper surface of the first conductive layer to the lower surface of the vibrating layer
with the conductor surface, a unit formed by the first conductive layer and the vibrating layer
with the conductor surface Dividing the substrate into a plurality of two-dimensionally arranged
vibration element blocks, and fixing a second conductive layer on the upper surface of the first
conductive layer, and the backing layer fixing step includes Connecting a ground line to a region
of the lower surface of the vibration layer with conductor surface that forms the side surface of
the vibration layer with conductor surface and the dummy vibration element block on which the
conductor surface is provided on the side surface Connecting a signal line to a region of the
lower surface of the vibration layer with conductor surface, in which the effective vibration
element block formed by the vibration element block forming the side surface of the vibration
layer with conductor surface is formed It is characterized by including.
[0015]
According to the present invention, in an ultrasound probe including a plurality of transducer
elements, it is possible to provide an ultrasound probe in which the mutual interference of the
plurality of transducer elements is suppressed and a method of manufacturing the same.
[0016]
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It is a figure showing composition of an ultrasound probe concerning an embodiment of the
present invention.
It is an exploded perspective view of an ultrasound probe concerning an embodiment of the
present invention.
It is a figure which shows the manufacturing process of an ultrasound probe.
It is a figure which shows the manufacturing process of an ultrasound probe. It is a figure which
shows the structure of the conventional ultrasound probe.
[0017]
1 and 2 show the configuration of an ultrasound probe according to an embodiment of the
present invention. This ultrasound probe may be used as a 1.5D array ultrasound probe or a 2D
array ultrasound probe. Fig.1 (a) is a perspective view of an ultrasound probe, FIG.1 (b) is AB
sectional drawing of Fig.1 (a). FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the ultrasound probe.
[0018]
The ultrasonic probe includes a vibrating layer 10, a first conductive matching layer 12 provided
on the upper side of the vibrating layer 10, a second conductive matching layer 14 provided on
the upper side of the first conductive matching layer 12, and It comprises and comprises a
backing layer 16 provided below the vibration layer 10.
[0019]
The vibrating layer 10 is constituted by two-dimensional array, that is, vibrating elements 18
arranged in the longitudinal direction and the lateral direction.
The vibrating element 18 has a configuration in which conductor foils 20 are provided on upper
and lower surfaces of a piezoelectric member 22 having a rectangular parallelepiped shape such
as PZT, quartz, zinc oxide or the like. Adjacent vibration elements 18 are separated by separation
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grooves 26 and separated acoustically. Of the vibrating elements 18, in the dummy vibrating
elements 18D disposed on the outer periphery of the vibrating layer 10, the conductor foil 20 is
provided on the side surface of the vibrating layer 10 as well as on the upper and lower surfaces
of the piezoelectric member 22. . In FIG. 2, the hatched vibrating element 18 is a dummy
vibrating element 18D. On the other hand, in the effective vibrating element 18E surrounded by
the dummy vibrating element 18D, no conductor foil is provided on the side surface of the
piezoelectric member 22.
[0020]
The conductor foil 20 of the upper surface and lower surface is used as an effective vibration
element 18E as an electrode. That is, by applying a signal to the conductor foil electrodes on the
upper and lower surfaces, the piezoelectric member 22 is vibrated to generate an ultrasonic
wave, and a signal based on the ultrasonic vibration of the piezoelectric member 22 is output
from the conductor foil electrodes on the upper and lower surfaces. be able to. On the other
hand, the dummy vibration element 18D is not used for generation of an ultrasonic wave and
generation of a signal based on ultrasonic vibration, and is used as part of a ground path as
described later.
[0021]
The first conductive matching layer 12 is constituted by a rectangular parallelepiped conductive
matching element 24 arranged in the longitudinal direction and the lateral direction so as to
correspond to each vibrating element 18. Adjacent conductive matching elements 24 are
separated by isolation grooves 26 and are electrically isolated. The upper and lower surfaces of
each conductive matching element 24 have the same shape as the upper surface of the vibrating
element 18 immediately below. Each conductive matching element 24 is fixed on the
immediately lower vibrating element 18 so as to be conductively connected to the conductor foil
20 on the upper surface of the immediately lower vibrating element 18.
[0022]
The second conductive matching layer 14 is formed of a conductive layer shaped to match the
top surface of the first conductive matching layer 12. The second conductive matching layer 14
is fixed on the first conductive matching layer 12 so as to be conductively connected to each
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conductive matching element 24.
[0023]
The thickness, material, and the like of the first conductive matching layer 12 and the second
conductive matching layer 14 are determined such that the acoustic impedance is matched
between the effective vibration element 18E and the living body.
[0024]
The backing layer 16 is configured to include an insulating member 28, a signal line 30 provided
in the insulating member 28, and a ground conductor 32.
The insulating member 28 has a connection surface 16S having a shape that matches the lower
surface of the vibration layer 10, and is formed in a rectangular parallelepiped shape in the
present embodiment.
[0025]
The signal line 30 is provided corresponding to the effective vibration element 18E. Each signal
line 30 extends in the vertical direction in the insulating member 28 and is disposed in the
insulating member 28 such that one end appears on the connection surface 16S. One end of the
signal line 30 appearing on the connection surface 16S is conductively connected to the
conductor foil 20 on the lower surface of the corresponding effective vibration element 18E.
[0026]
The ground conductor 32 is formed of four conductor plates. The four conductor plates are
disposed in the insulating member 28 such that the upper side of each of the conductor plates
appears on the connection surface 16S and a cylinder surrounding the signal line 30 is formed.
The upper side of each conductor plate is conductively connected to the conductor foil 20 on the
lower surface of the dummy vibrating element 18D.
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[0027]
The ground conductor 32 may be formed of a ground conductor pattern and a ground conductor
which are conductively connected to the conductor foil 20 on the lower surface of the dummy
vibrating element 18D. In this case, the shape of the ground conductor pattern is the same as the
shape drawn by the upper side of each conductor plate, as shown by hatching in FIG. 2, for
example. The ground conductor may be disposed in the insulating member 28 so that one end
thereof is connected to the ground conductor pattern and extends in the vertical direction.
[0028]
According to such a configuration, the conductor foil 20 on the upper surface of the effective
vibrating element 18E has the conductive matching element 24 immediately above the effective
vibrating element 18E, the second conductive matching layer 14, and the conductive property
immediately above the dummy vibrating element 18D. Conducting the ground conductor 32 of
the backing layer 16 through the matching element 24, the conductor foil 20 on the upper
surface of the dummy vibrating element 18D, the conductor foil 20 on the side of the dummy
vibrating element 18D, and the conductor foil 20 on the lower surface of the dummy vibrating
element 18D. Connected On the other hand, the conductor foil 20 on the lower surface of the
effective vibration element 18 E is conductively connected to the signal line 30 of the backing
layer 16.
[0029]
By this, by applying a signal between each signal line 30 provided in the backing layer 16 and
the ground conductor 32, ultrasonic waves can be generated from each effective vibration
element 18E. Further, a signal corresponding to the ultrasonic wave received by each effective
vibration element 18E can be output from between each signal line 30 provided on the backing
layer 16 and the ground conductor 32.
[0030]
In the ultrasonic probe according to the present embodiment, the adjacent effective vibrating
elements 18E are acoustically separated from each other. Thus, the mutual interference of the
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plurality of effective vibration elements 18E can be suppressed, and the influence of the mutual
interference on the directivity characteristics of the ultrasonic beam can be suppressed. In
addition, the conductor foil 20 on the upper surface of the effective vibration element 18E can be
grounded with a simple configuration by the above-described path. Further, as will be described
next, the manufacture of the ultrasound probe can be facilitated.
[0031]
The manufacturing method of the ultrasonic probe concerning this embodiment is explained. As
shown in FIG. 3A, a conductor is attached to the entire surface of the undivided piezoelectric
member 22, and the conductor foil 20 is formed on the entire surface of the piezoelectric
member 22.
[0032]
Next, as shown in FIG. 3B, the piezoelectric member 22 covered with the conductor foil 20, that
is, the undivided first conductive matching layer 12 is bonded to the upper side of the undivided
vibration layer 10. As shown in FIG. 3C, the backing layer 16 is bonded to the lower side of the
vibration layer 10. At this time, one end of the signal line 30 appearing on the connection surface
16S of the backing layer 16 is conductively connected to the position corresponding to the signal
line 30 where the conductor foil 20 on the lower surface of the effective vibrating element 18E is
formed. The upper side of the ground conductor 32 appearing on the connection surface 16S of
the backing layer 16 is conductively connected to the lower surface of the dummy vibrating
element 18D at a position where the conductor foil 20 is formed.
[0033]
After the first conductive matching layer 12, the vibrating layer 10, and the backing layer 16 are
joined, as shown in FIG. 4A, from the upper surface of the first conductive matching layer 12 to
the lower surface of the vibrating layer 10. A separation groove 26 is provided. As a result, the
conductive matching element 24 is formed on the first conductive matching layer 12, and the
effective vibrating element 18E and the dummy vibrating element 18D are formed on the
vibrating layer 10. Next, as shown in FIG. 4B, the second conductive matching layer 14 is bonded
to the upper surface of the first conductive matching layer 12.
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[0034]
According to such a manufacturing process, unlike the conventional configuration shown in FIG.
5, it is not necessary to provide a separation groove so that the conductor foil 20 is not cut, and
the process becomes simple. Furthermore, the ground path of the effective vibration element 18E
can be easily configured.
[0035]
In the above, the conductive foil 20 is attached to the entire side surface of the piezoelectric
member 22 forming the vibration layer 10. However, the conductor foil 20 may not be attached
to the entire side surface of the vibration layer 10. For example, in FIG. 2, the conductor foil 20 is
attached to the upper and lower surfaces, and the conductor foil extends over the upper and
lower surfaces of the vibration layer 10 on all or part of at least one of the four side surfaces
forming the outer periphery of the vibration layer 10. 20 may be attached. In this case, among
the vibrating elements 18 disposed on the outer periphery of the vibrating layer 10, one having
the conductive foil 20 on the side surface is used as the dummy vibrating element 18D.
[0036]
DESCRIPTION OF SYMBOLS 10 vibration layer, 12 1st conductive matching layer, 14 2nd
conductive matching layer, 16 backing layer, 16S connection surface, 18 vibration element, 18D
dummy vibration element, 18E effective vibration element, 20 conductor foil, 22 piezoelectric
member, 24 conductive matching elements, 26, 38 separation grooves, 28 insulating members,
30 signal lines, 32 ground conductors, 34 electrodes, 36 acoustic matching layers.
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