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DESCRIPTION JPH0515530

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DESCRIPTION JPH0515530
[0001]
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to an
ultrasonic wave transmitting / receiving probe mounted on an ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus
used for diagnosing a living body.
[0002]
2. Description of the Related Art Recently, an ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus has come to be
used for the diagnosis of a living body. In this ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus, an ultrasonic wave
transmitting and receiving probe is applied to a living body, ultrasonic waves are transmitted and
received, short electric pulses are transmitted and received, and an image is formed on a monitor.
[0003]
The ultrasonic wave transmitting and receiving probe is an ultrasonic wave absorbing body as a
packing material in which ferrite powder is mixed with a rubber material, and the ultrasonic
wave absorbing body has a predetermined interval along the longitudinal direction and is
separated from each other independently. It comprises a plurality of piezoelectric vibrating
elements arranged in parallel, an acoustic matching layer provided on the upper surface of the
piezoelectric vibrating elements, and a silicone lens as an acoustic lens laminated and fixed on
the upper surface of the acoustic matching layer.
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[0004]
The above-mentioned ultrasonic absorber supports the piezoelectric vibrating element and is for
absorbing ultrasonic waves emitted backward and contributing to the transmission and reception
of short pulses.
The piezoelectric vibration element is a transducer for converting an electric pulse into an
ultrasonic pulse or converting an ultrasonic wave into an electric signal.
[0005]
The acoustic matching layer is for matching the acoustic impedances of the piezoelectric
vibrating element and the living body, and the acoustic impedance of the piezoelectric vibrating
element is the acoustic impedance of the living body (since the main component of the living
body is water, the acoustic impedance of water (Approximate to the impedance).
[0006]
It is particularly important to select the material that constitutes the acoustic matching layer as
the ultrasonic wave transmitting / receiving probe and to obtain an appropriate acoustic
impedance, in order to improve the performance required for the ultrasonic diagnostic
apparatus, that is, the resolution and sensitivity. It is.
[0007]
Conventionally, epoxy resin is selected as the main component of the acoustic matching layer.
This epoxy resin is one which is generally used at room temperature curing, and alumina powder
or quartz powder is added as a filler for adjusting the acoustic impedance.
[0008]
To manufacture as an ultrasonic probe, a plate-like piezoelectric vibrating element is bonded and
fixed to a glass plate, and a mixture of an epoxy resin and alumina powder or quartz powder is
coated to a thickness of 0.5 to 1 mm on this piezoelectric vibrating element. Then, the
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piezoelectric vibrating element is cured at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours so as not to
cause deformation such as warpage, and is ground to a required thickness after curing.
[0009]
Then, they are adhered to an ultrasonic wave absorber and cut to a predetermined width, to
obtain a basic structure as an ultrasonic wave transmitting / receiving probe.
The epoxy resin fixed to the piezoelectric vibration element is formed as an acoustic matching
layer.
[0010]
By the way, the above epoxy resin takes time to be completely cured.
Usually, it should be left in an atmosphere at 40 ° C. or less for 12 to 24 hours so that curing
shrinkage does not occur.
[0011]
It is also conceivable to increase the temperature at curing to 70 to 80 ° C. to shorten the curing
time. However, at this time, a warping deformation occurs such that the acoustic matching layer
is separated from the piezoelectric vibration element.
[0012]
After all, at present, the process of providing the acoustic matching layer in the piezoelectric
vibration element can not be automated, and so-called batch production has become extremely
poor productivity, which is one factor of high cost.
[0013]
The present invention has been made in view of the above circumstances, and the objective is to
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cure the acoustic matching layer at a lower temperature and in a short time, and improve
productivity and enable automation. It is an object of the present invention to provide an
ultrasonic transmission / reception probe which can reduce the cost.
[0014]
In order to achieve the above object, according to a first aspect of the present invention, an
electric pulse is provided on an ultrasonic absorber in parallel and independently spaced from
each other at predetermined intervals along the longitudinal direction. And a plurality of
piezoelectric vibration elements for converting ultrasonic waves into electric waves or electric
waves, and an acoustic matching layer provided on the upper surface of the piezoelectric
vibration elements for matching the acoustic impedance of the living body with the piezoelectric
vibration elements. In the equipped ultrasonic wave transmitting and receiving probe, the
acoustic matching layer is made of a photo-curing resin.
[0015]
The second invention is an ultrasonic wave transmitting / receiving probe characterized in that
the photo-curing resin constituting the acoustic matching layer is a photo-curing epoxy resin in
which an ultraviolet ray-transmitting glass is mixed.
[0016]
The acoustic matching layer is made of a resin that is easily cured by light irradiation.
The acoustic matching layer is cured and formed on the piezoelectric vibrating element in a very
short time.
Moreover, what is necessary is just to irradiate an ultraviolet-ray in the state which employ |
adopted the said photocurable resin and the photocurable epoxy resin which mixed ultravioletray transmission glass.
[0017]
An embodiment of the present invention will be described below with reference to the drawings.
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FIG. 1 shows an ultrasonic wave transmitting / receiving probe which constitutes an ultrasonic
diagnostic apparatus used for diagnosis of a living body.
[0018]
In the figure, 1 is an ultrasonic wave absorber as a packing material which mixed ferrite powder
with a rubber material.
A plurality of piezoelectric vibrating elements 2 separated and independent from each other are
arranged in parallel on the ultrasonic absorber 1 at predetermined intervals along the
longitudinal direction.
[0019]
Electrodes 3 and 3 are integrated on the upper and lower surfaces of each piezoelectric vibrating
element 2, and lead wires 4 are extended from the respective electrodes 3. In addition, insulating
portions 5 are formed between the piezoelectric vibrating elements 2 and so on, and electrical
insulation is made between them.
[0020]
An acoustic matching layer 6 is provided on the upper surface of the piezoelectric vibrating
element 2 via an electrode 3 as described later. A silicone lens 7 as an acoustic lens is laminated
and fixed on the upper surface of the acoustic matching layer 6.
[0021]
That is, the basic configuration as an ultrasonic wave transmitting and receiving probe is
completely the same as that of the conventional one. The difference lies in the composition of the
acoustic matching layer 6 and the means of hardening and fixing to the piezoelectric vibration
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element 2. First, the composition of the acoustic matching layer 6 will be described by blending
the following materials. Photo-curing epoxy resin 100 parts Silane coupling agent 0.3 parts
Flexibility imparting agent 10 parts UV transmitting glass powder 250 parts
[0022]
As the photocurable epoxy resin, Adeka Optomer KR500 (bisphenol A type epoxy) manufactured
by Asahi Denka Co., Ltd. is used. The UV transmitting glass was used by micronizing 9741
manufactured by Corning Japan Co., Ltd. to 100 mesh or less.
[0023]
Then, the piezoelectric vibrating element 2 is bonded to a smooth glass plate with wax, and the
upper surface is coated with the above-mentioned compound material to a thickness of about 0.6
mm + by screen printing and irradiated with ultraviolet light. The irradiation condition of
ultraviolet light is about 300 mV / cm 2 for 30 seconds.
[0024]
Even if it is such a short time ultraviolet irradiation, it cures certainly. Then, the acoustic
matching layer 6 is formed by polishing to a predetermined thickness. Since the temperature
hardly rises and the curing is performed in a low temperature state, there is no deformation of
the piezoelectric vibrating element 2 and the chemical resistance is excellent. Because it cures in
a short time, mass production by casting can be made from conventional batch production. The
compounding material of the acoustic matching layer 6 has the following features.
[0025]
That is, the photocurable epoxy resin is excellent in water resistance and chemical resistance, and
the conditions required for securing the reliability of the ultrasonic wave transmitting / receiving
probe are satisfied. In order to improve the thick film curability of this resin, the abovementioned ultraviolet transmitting glass was used. This UV transmitting glass secures 80% UV
transmittance at a wavelength of 254 mm.
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[0026]
Furthermore, in order to improve adhesion to the piezoelectric vibration element 2, a silane
coupling agent is added, and in order to prevent deformation (warpage) of the piezoelectric
vibration element 2 due to curing shrinkage of the resin, the above-mentioned flexibility
imparting agent Was added. The compounding ratio of these materials was determined by
several experiments so as to satisfy various characteristics (acoustic impedance etc.) and
reliability of the ultrasonic wave transmission / reception probe.
[0027]
In the above embodiment, although a single layer is applied as the acoustic matching layer 6, the
present invention is not limited to this, and as shown in FIG. 2, it may be an acoustic matching
layer having a two-layer structure.
[0028]
That is, the first matching layer 6A and the second matching layer 6B are sequentially formed on
the front side of the ultrasonic transmitting / receiving surface of the piezoelectric vibrating
element 2 from the side closer to the piezoelectric vibrating element 2.
Here, the first matching layer 6A is made of the above-described photocurable resin as a main
component, and the other compounding materials are mixed and cured. The second matching
layer 6B is formed of a resin film.
[0029]
According to such a configuration, it is possible to obtain an optimum acoustic impedance,
reduce ripples in the characteristic of the pass band of the probe, and transmit and receive short
pulses to enhance high resolution.
[0030]
In particular, since the second matching layer 6B is formed of a resin film, it is easy to
manufacture and is excellent in water resistance and, of course, there is no variation in thickness,
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so that the sensitivity characteristics of the probe can be maintained favorably.
[0031]
In the above embodiment, although the photo-curing epoxy resin is applied as the photo-curing
resin, the present invention is not limited to this, and even if it is an acrylic photo-curing resin
generally used, it is substantially the same. Get the effect.
[0032]
As described above, according to the present invention, since the acoustic matching layer
provided on the upper surface of the piezoelectric vibrating element for matching the acoustic
impedances of the piezoelectric vibrating element and the living body is made of a light curing
resin, Thus, the piezoelectric vibrating element can be cured and formed in a very short time
without deformation, and the productivity can be greatly improved, and the cost reduction can be
achieved by automation.
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