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DESCRIPTION JPH10253604

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DESCRIPTION JPH10253604
[0001]
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to an
ultrasonic probe used in an ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus and the like.
[0002]
2. Description of the Related Art A conventional ultrasonic probe will be described with reference
to FIG. In FIG. 4A, 1 is a piezoelectric element made of, for example, piezoelectric ceramic
arranged at a predetermined distance, 2 is a first acoustic matching layer for efficiently
propagating ultrasonic waves, 3 is a similar second acoustic matching layer, Reference numeral 4
denotes a back load material for absorbing and attenuating ultrasonic waves emitted from the
back surface of the piezoelectric element 1, and 5 denotes an acoustic lens for focusing the
ultrasonic waves.
[0003]
In the ultrasonic probe having such a configuration, first, the piezoelectric element 1, the first
acoustic matching layer 2, and the second acoustic matching layer 3 are sequentially stacked on
the backing material 4, and then the cutting device such as a dicer is used. The second acoustic
matching layer 3, the first acoustic matching layer 2, and the piezoelectric element 1 at
predetermined intervals to form a gap 6, and thereafter bonding the acoustic lens 5 on the
second acoustic matching layer 3 Manufactured by
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[0004]
However, in such a configuration, as shown in FIG. 4 (b), the adhesive 7 flows out into the gap 6
between the elements when bonding the acoustic lens 5. Since the gap 6 is filled with the
adhesive 7 which has flowed out, crosstalk between adjacent elements is generated.
In addition, the piezoelectric vibration energy leaks to the adhesive 7 in the gap 6 to cause a
decrease in sensitivity, and at the same time, the directivity characteristic of each element
becomes narrow, for example, a search requiring a wide directivity characteristic such as sector
scanning It had a problem that it was not suitable for the feeler. In particular, since the adhesive
7 and the first acoustic matching layer 2 and the second acoustic matching layer 3 use materials
having close acoustic impedance values, the gaps from the first acoustic matching layer 2 and the
second acoustic matching layer 3 can be obtained. It is easy for energy to be transmitted to the
adhesive 7 between them, which has been a cause of a decrease in sensitivity.
[0005]
An object of the present invention is to solve the above-mentioned problems, and an object
thereof is to provide an ultrasonic probe which has high sensitivity and wide directivity
characteristics while suppressing the occurrence of crosstalk.
[0006]
[Means for Solving the Problems] In order to achieve the above object, the ultrasonic probe of the
present invention uses a gel-like material having adhesiveness to bond an acoustic matching
layer and an acoustic lens. Since the gel-like material has no fluidity, it does not enter the gap
between the elements, and therefore, the occurrence of crosstalk can be suppressed, and high
sensitivity and wide directivity can be obtained.
[0007]
According to a first aspect of the present invention, there are provided a plurality of piezoelectric
elements arranged in an array, an acoustic matching layer disposed on the acoustic radiation
surface side of the piezoelectric elements, and the acoustic matching layer. An ultrasonic probe
comprising: an acoustic lens disposed on an acoustic radiation surface side, wherein the acoustic
matching layer and the acoustic lens are joined by a gel material having adhesiveness. The
material is very soft, has a high viscosity, and does not flow into the gap between the elements,
so that it is possible to suppress the occurrence of crosstalk and to obtain high sensitivity.
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[0008]
The invention according to claim 2 or 3 of the present invention uses gel silicone rubber or gel
epoxy resin as the gel material, and has the effect that the material is easy to obtain and handle.
[0009]
According to a fourth aspect of the present invention, the piezoelectric element has a plurality of
piezoelectric elements arranged in an array, and an acoustic matching layer disposed on the
acoustic radiation surface side of the piezoelectric elements. The ultrasonic probe is
characterized in that a filler is injected below the thickness, and the acoustic matching layer and
the filler material in the gap are in direct contact by suppressing the filler in the gap to the
thickness of the piezoelectric element or less. Therefore, energy propagation from the acoustic
matching layer to the filling material can be eliminated, and the effect of suppressing the
occurrence of crosstalk while maintaining the strength and obtaining high sensitivity can be
obtained.
[0010]
The invention according to claim 5 of the present invention is an ultrasonic probe characterized
by comprising a plurality of strip-like piezoelectric elements arranged in the width direction, and
one end of the piezoelectric element is undivided. Since the whole element is connected in the
undivided part, it has the effect of suppressing the occurrence of crosstalk while maintaining the
strength and obtaining high sensitivity.
[0011]
Hereinafter, embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to FIGS. 1 to
3.
(First Embodiment) FIG. 1 shows a configuration of an ultrasonic probe according to a first
embodiment of the present invention.
In FIG. 1, 11 is a piezoelectric element made of, for example, piezoelectric ceramic arranged at a
predetermined interval via a gap 16, 12 is a first acoustic matching layer made of, for example,
epoxy resin for efficiently propagating ultrasonic waves, 13 is the same A second acoustic
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matching layer, 14 is a back load material made of, for example, a rubber material mixed with
iron powder for absorbing and attenuating ultrasonic waves emitted from the back surface of the
piezoelectric element 11, and 15 is for focusing ultrasonic waves. Acoustic lens made of, for
example, silicone rubber.
16 is a gap between the elements, and 17 is a gel-like material for bonding the acoustic lens 15
to the second acoustic matching layer 13.
Further, electrodes (not shown) made of, for example, baked silver are provided on the upper and
lower sides of the piezoelectric element 11, and these electrodes are electrically connected to an
ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus (not shown) via a wiring board (not shown) or a cable (not
shown). ing.
[0012]
The operation of the ultrasonic probe configured as described above will be described below.
For example, when obtaining B-mode information using this probe, each piezoelectric element 11
is excited by a pulse from an ultrasonic diagnostic device (not shown) given a predetermined
delay time, and the first acoustic matching layer 12, the first acoustic matching layer 12,
Through the acoustic matching layer 13 and the acoustic lens 15, an ultrasonic beam having a
predetermined direction and a predetermined focus is transmitted into an object (not shown).
The ultrasonic wave transmitted into the subject is reflected by the difference in acoustic
impedance of the internal tissue of the subject, and the reflected echo is reflected via the acoustic
lens 15, the second acoustic matching layer 13, and the first acoustic matching layer 12. , And
received by the piezoelectric element 11. The received reflected echo is converted into an
electrical signal, sent to an ultrasonic diagnostic device (not shown), and processed into a B-mode
image.
[0013]
An example of a method of manufacturing this ultrasonic probe will be described. First, the
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piezoelectric element 11, the first acoustic matching layer 12, and the second acoustic matching
layer 13 are laminated on the backing material 14 while being bonded with an adhesive. Next,
the laminated piezoelectric element 11 and the first acoustic matching layer 12 and the second
acoustic matching layer 13 are cut while maintaining a predetermined distance using a cutting
device such as a dicer, for example, to form a gap 16 in the cut portion Do. Next, the gel-like
material 17 made of, for example, gel-like silicone rubber having adhesiveness on the surface of
the acoustic lens 15 in contact with the second acoustic matching layer 13 in advance is applied
while controlling to a certain thickness not to adversely affect acoustically. The acoustic lens 15
is closely fixed on the second acoustic matching layer 13. At this time, since the gel-like material
17 is very viscous and does not flow out into the gap 16, the gap 16 is not filled with the gel-like
material 17.
[0014]
As described above, according to the present embodiment, since the gel-like material 17 is used
to join the second acoustic matching layer 13 and the acoustic lens 15, each element is
completely separated via the gap 16. As a result, crosstalk can be held between adjacent
elements, and a decrease in sensitivity can be suppressed, and wide directivity can be obtained.
[0015]
In addition, although the structure of 2 layers was demonstrated as an acoustic matching layer
here, the effect of this invention is acquired even if it is 1 layer or 3 or more layers.
[0016]
Further, although the structure in which the elements are arranged in one dimension is described
here, the effect of the present invention can be obtained as long as a structure in which a
plurality of elements are arrayed including a two-dimensional matrix array and others.
[0017]
Furthermore, although the gel-like material is here a gel-like silicone rubber, the effect of the
present invention can be obtained with other gel-like materials including gel-like epoxy resins.
[0018]
Second Embodiment FIG. 2 shows a second embodiment of the present invention.
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In FIG. 2, 21 is a piezoelectric element made of, for example, piezoelectric ceramic, arranged at a
predetermined interval via a gap 26, 22 is a first acoustic matching layer made of, for example,
epoxy resin for efficiently propagating ultrasonic waves, 23 is the same A second acoustic
matching layer, 24 is a backing material made of, for example, a rubber material mixed with iron
powder for absorbing and attenuating ultrasonic waves emitted from the back surface of the
piezoelectric element 21, and 25 is for focusing ultrasonic waves. For example, an acoustic lens
26 made of silicone rubber, a gap 26 between the elements, and a filler 27 made of silicone
rubber or an epoxy resin for partially filling the gap 26, for example.
Further, on the upper and lower sides of the piezoelectric element 21, for example, a minus
electrode 28 and a plus electrode 29 made of baked silver are provided, and these electrodes 28
and 29 are ultrasonic diagnostic devices not shown via wiring boards not shown or cables not
shown. Are connected electrically.
The operation of the ultrasonic probe configured as described above is the same as that of the
first embodiment, and is omitted here.
[0019]
An example of the manufacturing method of the ultrasonic probe which has the said structure is
demonstrated.
First, the piezoelectric element 21 and the first acoustic matching layer 22 and the second
acoustic matching layer 23 are laminated on the backing material 24 while being bonded with an
adhesive. Next, the laminated piezoelectric element 21 and the first acoustic matching layer 22
and the second acoustic matching layer 23 are cut while maintaining a predetermined distance
using a cutting device such as a dicer, for example, to form the gap 26 in the cut portion Do.
Next, a filler 27 made of, for example, silicone rubber or epoxy resin is poured into the gap 26 to
fill the entire gap 26. Next, the filler 27 is removed to the depth of the second acoustic matching
layer 23 and the first acoustic matching layer 22 with respect to the filled gap 26 using a cutting
device or cutting device such as a dicer, for example, to form the piezoelectric element 21. The
filler 27 is left only for the thickness of. Thereafter, the acoustic lens 25 is bonded to the second
acoustic matching layer 23 in a state where the gap 26 is held using, for example, gel silicone
rubber.
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[0020]
Thus, according to the present embodiment, by removing the filler 27 adjacent to the first
acoustic matching layer 22 and the second acoustic matching layer 23, the first acoustic
matching layer 22 whose acoustic impedance can be easily matched can be obtained. Since the
filler 27, the second acoustic matching layer 23, and the filler 27 are not in direct contact with
each other, crosstalk can be suppressed and the sensitivity can be prevented from being lowered,
and the filler 27 filled up to the thickness of the piezoelectric element 21 Can be held to prevent
element collapse and the like.
[0021]
Although the structure for removing the injected filler is described here so as to have a thickness
equal to the thickness of the piezoelectric element, the filler may be injected from the beginning
so as to have the thickness of the piezoelectric element.
In addition, the effect of the present invention can be obtained even if the thickness of the filler is
equal to or less than the thickness of the piezoelectric element.
[0022]
Further, although the structure in which the elements are arranged in one dimension is described
here, the effect of the present invention can be obtained as long as a structure in which a
plurality of elements are arrayed including a two-dimensional matrix array and others.
[0023]
Further, although the structure of two layers as the acoustic matching layer has been described
here, the effect of the present invention can be obtained even if the structure is one or three or
more layers.
[0024]
Further, although the configuration in which the acoustic lens is provided has been described
here, it goes without saying that the effect of the present invention can be obtained without the
acoustic lens.
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[0025]
Third Embodiment FIG. 3 shows a third embodiment of the present invention.
In FIG. 3, 31 is a piezoelectric element made of, for example, piezoelectric ceramic for
transmitting and receiving ultrasonic waves, 32 is a first acoustic matching layer made of, for
example, epoxy resin for efficiently propagating ultrasonic waves, 33 is a piezoelectric element
The second acoustic matching layer is a similar second acoustic matching layer, and the
piezoelectric element 31, the first acoustic matching layer 32, and the second acoustic matching
layer 33 are not completely divided but are connected by their undivided portions 31a, 32a, and
33a.
34 is a back load material made of, for example, a rubber material mixed with iron powder for
absorbing and attenuating ultrasonic waves emitted from the back surface of the piezoelectric
element 31, and 35 is a sound made of silicone rubber for focusing ultrasonic waves. A lens 36 is
a gap between elements, 37 is a minus electrode made of, for example, baked silver for supplying
a drive signal and at the same time taking out a received signal, and 38 is also a plus electrode.
The negative electrode 37 on the upper surface of the piezoelectric element 31 is applied to the
entire upper surface of the element including the undivided portion 31a, and the positive
electrode 38 on the lower surface is applied only to the divided portion. The positive electrode
38 and the negative electrode 37 are electrically connected to an ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus
(not shown) via a wiring board, an earth plate, and a cable (not shown), respectively. The
operation of the ultrasound probe having this configuration is the same as in the first and second
embodiments, and thus is omitted.
[0026]
An example of the manufacturing method of the ultrasonic probe which has the said structure is
demonstrated. First, the piezoelectric element 31, the first acoustic matching layer 32, and the
second acoustic matching layer 33 are laminated on the backing material 34 while being bonded
with an adhesive. Next, the stacked piezoelectric element 31 and the first acoustic matching layer
32 and the second acoustic matching layer 33 are cut from the side surface while maintaining a
predetermined distance using a cutting device such as a dicer. At this time, at least the plus
electrode 38 is cut so as to be divided to provide undivided portions 31a, 32a, 33a of a constant
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thickness. Thereafter, the acoustic lens 35 is joined to the second acoustic matching layer 33 in a
state where the gap 36 is not filled, for example, using gel silicone rubber.
[0027]
As described above, according to the present embodiment, since each piezoelectric element 31 is
not completely cut off, mechanical strength can be maintained without injecting the filler into the
gap between the elements in particular. It is possible to provide an ultrasonic probe which can
prevent the occurrence of the cross talk and the deterioration of the sensitivity and the crosstalk.
In this case, the undivided portion of the piezoelectric element 31 may be left as minimum as
necessary to maintain the mechanical strength.
[0028]
Although the negative electrode 37 is applied to the entire surface of the device here, the effect
of the present invention does not change even if only the device portion divided like the positive
electrode 38 is used.
[0029]
Further, although the structure of two layers as the acoustic matching layer has been described
here, the effect of the present invention can be obtained even if the structure is one or three or
more layers.
[0030]
Further, although a configuration of the acoustic lens has been described here, it goes without
saying that the effect of the present invention can be obtained without the acoustic lens.
[0031]
As described above, according to the present invention, the plurality of piezoelectric elements
arranged, the acoustic matching layer disposed on the acoustic radiation surface side of the
piezoelectric element, and the acoustic radiation surface side of the acoustic matching layer By
bonding the acoustic matching layer and the acoustic lens with an adhesive gel-like material, the
gap between the elements is not filled with the adhesive, and the cross An advantageous effect is
obtained that wide directivity characteristics can be obtained while preventing the occurrence of
talk and the decrease in sensitivity.
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[0032]
Further, according to the present invention, a plurality of piezoelectric elements and an acoustic
matching layer disposed on the acoustic radiation surface side of the piezoelectric elements are
provided, and a filler having a thickness equal to or less than the thickness of the piezoelectric
elements is provided in the gaps between the elements. In addition, it is possible to prevent the
leakage of the acoustic energy that occurs between the acoustic matching layer and the filler, and
to prevent the occurrence of crosstalk and the reduction of the sensitivity while maintaining the
mechanical strength. An effect is obtained.
[0033]
Furthermore, according to the present invention, a strip-shaped piezoelectric element arranged in
a plurality in the width direction is provided, and one end of the piezoelectric element is not
divided, so that there is no filler for filling the gap between the elements. The mechanical
strength can be maintained, and the advantageous effect of preventing cross talk and
desensitization can be obtained.
[0034]
Brief description of the drawings
[0035]
1 is a schematic perspective view (a) and a partially enlarged cross-sectional view (b) of an
ultrasonic probe according to a first embodiment of the present invention
[0036]
2 is a schematic perspective view of an ultrasonic probe according to a second embodiment of
the present invention
[0037]
3 is a schematic perspective view of an ultrasonic probe according to the third embodiment of
the present invention
[0038]
Fig. 4 A schematic perspective view (a) and a partially enlarged cross-sectional view (b) of a
conventional ultrasonic probe
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[0039]
Explanation of sign
[0040]
11, 21, 31 Piezoelectric element 12, 22, 32 First acoustic matching layer 13, 23, 33 Second
acoustic matching layer 14, 24, 34 Back load material 15, 25, 35 Acoustic lens 16, 26, 36 Gap
17 Gel Material 27 filler 28, 37 minus electrode 29, 38 plus electrode 31a, 32a, 33a undivided
portion
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