Phantom evaluation of stacked-type dual-frequency 1–3 composite transducers: A feasibility study on intracavitary acoustic angiography

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In this paper, we present phantom evaluation results of a stacked-type dual-frequency 1–3 piezoelectric composite transducer as a feasibility study for intracavitary acoustic angiography. Our previous design (6.5/30 MHz PMN–PT single crystal transducer) for intravascular contrast ultrasound imaging exhibited a contrast-to-tissue ratio (CTR) of 12 dB with a penetration depth of 2.5 mm. For improved penetration depth (>3 mm) and comparable contrast-to-tissue ratio (>12 dB), we evaluated a lower frequency 2/14 MHz PZT 1–3 composite transducer. Superharmonic imaging performance of this transducer and a detailed characterization of key parameters for acoustic angiography are presented. The 2/14 MHz arrangement demonstrated a −6 dB fractional bandwidth of 56.5% for the transmitter and 41.8% for the receiver, and produced sufficient peak-negative pressures (>1.5 MPa) at 2 MHz to induce a strong nonlinear harmonic response from microbubble contrast agents. In an in-vitro contrast ultrasound study using a tissue mimicking phantom and 200 μm cellulose microvessels, higher harmonic microbubble responses, from the 5th through the 7th harmonics, were detected with a signal-to-noise ratio of 16 dB. The microvessels were resolved in a two-dimensional image with a −6 dB axial resolution of 615 μm (5.5 times the wavelength of 14 MHz waves) and a contrast-to-tissue ratio of 16 dB. This feasibility study, including detailed explanation of phantom evaluation and characterization procedures for key parameters, will be useful for the development of future dual-frequency array transducers for intracavitary acoustic angiography.

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