Excitation of ultrasonic Lamb waves using a phased array system with two array probes: Phantom andin vitrobone studies

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Long bones are good waveguides to support the propagation of ultrasonic guided waves. The low-order guided waves have been consistently observed in quantitative ultrasound bone studies. Selective excitation of these low-order guided modes requires oblique incidence of the ultrasound beam using a transducer-wedge system. It is generally assumed that an angle of incidence, Θi, generates a specific phase velocity of interest, co, via Snell's law, Θi = sin−1(vw/co) where vw is the velocity of the coupling medium. In this study, we investigated the excitation of guided waves within a 6.3-mm thick brass plate and a 6.5-mm thick bovine bone plate using an ultrasound phased array system with two 0.75-mm-pitch array probes. Arranging five elements as a group, the first group of a 16-element probe was used as a transmitter and a 64-element probe was a receiver array. The beam was steered for six angles (0°, 20°, 30°, 40°, 50°, and 60°) with a 1.6-MHz source signal. An adjoint Radon transform algorithm mapped the time-offset matrix into the frequency-phase velocity dispersion panels. The imaged Lamb plate modes were identified by the theoretical dispersion curves. The results show that the 0° excitation generated many modes with no modal discrimination and the oblique beam excited a spectrum of phase velocities spread asymmetrically about co. The width of the excitation region decreased as the steering angle increased, rendering modal selectivity at large angles. The phenomena were well predicted by the excitation function of the source influence theory. The low-order modes were better imaged at steering angle ≥30° for both plates. The study has also demonstrated the feasibility of using the two-probe phased array system for future in vivo study.

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