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DESCRIPTION JPH06254090

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DESCRIPTION JPH06254090
[0001]
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to an
ultrasonic probe apparatus used in an ultrasonic imaging apparatus such as an ultrasonic
diagnostic apparatus.
[0002]
2. Description of the Related Art Conventionally, in an array type ultrasonic probe apparatus
having a plurality of ultrasonic transducer elements arranged, it is provided on the back surface
or front surface of the ultrasonic transducer element as a means for pulling out the electrode
from the ultrasonic transducer element. Generally, an electrode is connected to a flexible printed
circuit (FPC) and is drawn out to the side surface of the plurality of arranged ultrasonic
transducer elements.
[0003]
Referring to FIG. 9, a conventional array-type ultrasonic probe apparatus will be described in
which ultrasonic vibration elements are arranged in one dimension on a backing material.
That is, this ultrasonic probe device includes the ultrasonic vibration element 10, the ground
electrode 11 and the drive electrode 12, the acoustic matching layer 13, the flexible printed
circuit (FPC) 14, 15, the backing material 16, and the filling material 17. It consists of That is, in
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order to apply a drive voltage between the ground electrode 11 provided on the ultrasonic
radiation surface of the ultrasonic vibration element 10 and the drive electrode 12 provided on
the back surface, the flexible printed circuit (FPC) is applied to both electrodes 11 and 12 14 and
15 are connected and the FPCs 14 and 15 are disposed on the side surfaces of the backing
material 16, and the wiring patterns of the FPCs 14 and 15 are used as lead leads. Thereby, an
independent drive voltage can be applied to each of the ultrasonic vibration elements.
[0004]
The ultrasonic probe apparatus and the method of manufacturing the same will be described in
more detail with reference to FIG. That is, an ultrasonic vibration element 10 formed of an
electroacoustic conversion material such as a piezoelectric material in a plate shape is prepared
(a), and vapor deposition is performed on the upper surface, side surface and lower surface of the
ultrasonic vibration element 10 The ground electrode 11 and the drive electrode 12 are formed
by the thin film formation method such as (b). Thereby, the element with electrode 10A is
formed. An acoustic matching material 13 such as resin is formed on the upper surface of the
electrode-attached element 10A by coating or the like (c). The acoustic matching material 13A is
cut and processed to form the acoustic matching layer 13. Thus, the ultrasonic vibrator 10B
including the ultrasonic vibration element 10, the electrodes 11 and 12, and the acoustic
matching layer 13 is formed in which the dimensions of the lower surface of the element with
electrode 10A and the upper surface of the acoustic matching layer 13 are defined. (D).
[0005]
Next, a bonding material such as an adhesive is applied to the lower surface of the ultrasonic
vibrator 10B, and the FPCs 14 and 15 on which the wiring pattern is formed are placed and
pressure-welded by the backing material 16 (e, f). Next, a plurality of grooves 17A are formed on
the upper surface of the ultrasonic vibrator 10B (g). The groove 17A is filled with the filler 17
(h). This completes the main part of the ultrasonic probe device. In this case, according to the
form of the wiring pattern of the FPCs 14 and 15 and the formation form of the groove 17A, the
ultrasonic vibrator 10B has a plurality of arrayed vibration elements formed.
[0006]
However, in the conventional ultrasonic probe device, since the FPCs 14 and 15 connected to the
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electrodes 11 and 12 are disposed on the side surface of the array type ultrasonic probe device,
the ultrasonic vibration element is used. The area occupied by the ultrasonic transducer element
becomes larger than the effective area (area opposed to the drive electrode 11 and the ground
electrode 12), resulting in poor space efficiency. Therefore, when the external dimensions of the
ultrasonic probe apparatus are limited, the area of the effective area can not be increased.
Further, in the conventional electrode drawing means, the arrangement of the ultrasonic
transducer elements is limited to only one dimension, and it is impossible to draw the electrodes
of the two-dimensional ultrasonic probe apparatus.
[0007]
Therefore, an object of the present invention is to provide an ultrasonic probe device capable of
reducing the occupied area of an ultrasonic vibrator and enabling two-dimensional arrangement
of ultrasonic vibration elements, and a method of manufacturing the same.
[0008]
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In order to achieve the above object, the invention of an
ultrasonic probe apparatus according to claim 1 comprises an ultrasonic vibrator and a backing
material disposed on the back of the ultrasonic vibrator. And a lead member whose one end is in
point contact with the ultrasonic vibrator and whose other end penetrates the backing material
and which is led from the outside of the backing material.
[0009]
The invention of the method of manufacturing an ultrasonic probe device according to the
second aspect comprises the steps of forming an ultrasonic vibrator, and one end of the backing
material to be disposed on the back of the ultrasonic vibrator is the ultrasonic vibrator.
Assembling the lead member which is point-contacted and the other end penetrates the backing
material and leads out from the outside of the backing material, and the backing material such
that one end of the lead member is point-contacted to the ultrasonic vibrator And disposing on
the back surface of the ultrasonic vibrator.
[0010]
According to the ultrasonic probe apparatus of claims 1 and 2, the ultrasonic vibrator can be
thinly polarized by the point contact mechanism by the lead member penetrating the backing
material, and the occupied region of the ultrasonic vibrator can be obtained. It is possible to
reduce the size and to enable two-dimensional arrangement of ultrasonic transducer elements.
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[0011]
An embodiment of the present invention will be described below with reference to the drawings.
The ultrasonic probe apparatus of this embodiment is manufactured by the process shown in FIG.
In this embodiment, (a) to (d) in the manufacturing process shown in FIG. 9 as a conventional
example are substantially the same as the conventional example, and the steps after step (e) are
different from the conventional example and It is characteristic.
First, the most different steps (e) and (f) will be described.
That is, the ultrasonic vibrator 10B is manufactured by the step (d). Then, in the step (e), a
through hole 19A is provided at a predetermined position of the backing material 18, and a
member in which the contact probe 19 is inserted into the through hole 19A is formed. Next, in
step (e), the backing material 18 is pressure bonded to the ultrasonic vibrator 10B such that the
tip of the contact probe 19 abuts on the drive electrode provided on the ultrasonic vibrator 10B. .
In this case, an adhesive should be applied to the bonding surface of the ultrasonic vibrator 10B
and the backing material 18. Thereafter, the steps (g) and (f) are performed to fabricate the main
part of the ultrasonic probe apparatus of the present embodiment. In this case, in the step (g), the
groove 17B has a depth to slightly penetrate the backing material 18 beyond the electrode 12.
Further, in the step (h), the filling material 17 is filled in the groove 17B of a depth slightly over
the electrode 12 and slightly inserted into the backing material 18.
[0012]
Next, main members in the ultrasonic probe apparatus of the present embodiment will be
described. That is, FIGS. 2 and 3 show an embodiment of a backing material 18 for using the
contact probe 19 as an electrode lead of a one-dimensional array type ultrasonic probe
apparatus. The backing material 18 has a two-layer structure, the upper layer uses the same
ferrite rubber 18A as the conventional backing material, and the lower layer uses a phenolic
resin (Bakelite) 18B with small stress and thermal deformation. The two-layered structure
backing material 18 is provided with a through hole as shown in the figure, and the contact
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probe 19 is exposed below the surface of the backing material 18 when the tip plunger is
exposed to the surface and pressure is applied to the tip. The barrel is inserted into a slidable
position, and the barrel is fixed and adhered to the lower bakelite 18 B of the backing material
18.
[0013]
FIG. 4 shows the configuration of the contact probe 19 used in the present embodiment. That is,
as shown in FIG. 4, the contact probe 19 is electrically connected to the plunger 19A which
directly contacts the object, the spring 19B which has a function to slide when pressure is
applied to the plunger 19A, and the outer wall of the plunger 19A. It is comprised from the
barrel 19C which contacts. One row of contact probes 19 is used as a ground electrode lead and
the other is used for drive electrode lead. By forming the backing material 18 in a two-layer
structure, the acoustic characteristics are the same as those in the prior art, and the positions
where the contact probes 19 contact the electrodes of the ultrasonic vibration elements formed
by the ultrasonic vibration body 10B. The accuracy can be secured and can be used as an
electrode lead of the array type ultrasonic probe apparatus. Further, an extension lead should be
connected to the contact probe 19 in advance. FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing the main part
of the ultrasonic probe apparatus of the present embodiment.
[0014]
As described above, the contact probe 19 shown in FIG. 4 is connected to the ground electrode or
the drive electrode of each of the ultrasonic vibration elements, and driven between the extended
leads connected to the individual ground electrode / drive electrode contact probes (not shown).
By applying a voltage, it is possible to drive each ultrasonic vibration element independently. In
this embodiment, since the electrode lead leads penetrate the inside of the backing material 18, it
is possible to reduce the area occupied by the ultrasonic transducer.
[0015]
In the present embodiment, both lead electrodes for the ground electrode and the drive electrode
are targeted for the point contact structure, but either one may be configured to use the lead
leads using the same FPC as in the prior art. It is possible. Further, depending on the array shape
and the through hole shape, the positions of the through holes in the backing material can be
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scattered over the entire surface of the backing material.
[0016]
FIGS. 6 and 7 are diagrams showing the configuration of an embodiment of a backing material
for using the contact probe as an electrode lead of a two-dimensional array ultrasonic probe
apparatus. The backing material 20 for a two-dimensional array is basically the same as the
embodiment shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, but in the present embodiment, the contact probe 19 is
used only as a lead for driving electrodes. The backing material 20 is a two-layer structure in
which the upper layer is a ferrite rubber 20A and the lower layer is a phenol resin (Bakelite) 20B.
FIG. 8 shows an embodiment of a two-dimensional array array type ultrasonic probe apparatus
using the backing material 20 for the two-dimensional array shown in FIG. 6 and FIG.
[0017]
This embodiment is manufactured by the following manufacturing procedure. That is, the
ultrasonic vibrator 10B is prepared, and pressure is applied on the backing material 20 shown in
FIG. 6 and FIG. At this time, the contact probe 19 and the drive electrode are electrically
connected by contact. Thereafter, the ultrasonic vibrator 10B and a part of the backing material
20 are cut in two directions to form an array vibration element.
[0018]
Next, a filler 17 is filled in the cutting groove 17A, and then thin film Au is formed on the entire
surface, whereby the ground electrodes of the respective arrays are connected in common to
form a common electrode. An electrode lead is drawn out from the common electrode.
Furthermore, after forming the acoustic matching layer on the common electrode, only the
acoustic matching layer is cut so as not to separate the common electrode, and then the gaps
(grooves) in the acoustic matching layer are filled with a filler.
[0019]
As described above, the contact probe 19 shown in FIG. 4 is connected to the ground electrode or
the drive electrode of each of the ultrasonic vibration elements formed by the groove, and is
connected to the contact probe 19 for the individual ground electrode / drive electrode not
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shown. By applying a drive voltage between the extension leads, it becomes possible to drive the
ultrasonic transducer elements of the two-dimensional array independently.
[0020]
In this embodiment, the two-dimensional array array type ultrasonic probe device which can not
be achieved by the conventional electrode drawing means can be manufactured only by changing
the backing material. It can be realized by the change.
[0021]
The present invention is not limited to the above-described embodiment, and various
modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.
For example, instead of the contact probe 19, a connector mechanism capable of point contact
with the electrode of the ultrasonic vibrator 10B may be used, or a member in which a contact
point is disposed on the FPC may be used.
Of course, without being limited to the process shown in FIG. 1, various manufacturing processes
can be adopted in which the point contact type lead member is appropriately arranged with
respect to the ultrasonic vibrator 10B.
[0022]
As described above, according to the present invention, it is possible to provide an array type
ultrasonic probe apparatus having a small external shape, a relatively large effective area, and
capable of forming a two-dimensional array, and a method of manufacturing the same It is.
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