Ultrasound is increasingly in demand as a medical imaging tool and can be particularly beneficial in the field of intracardiac echocardiography (ICE). However, many challenges remain in the development of a 3D ultrasound imaging system.
We have designed and fabricated a quad-ring capacitive micromachined ultrasound transducer (CMUT) for real-time, volumetric medical imaging. Each CMUT array is composed of four concentric, independent ring arrays, each operating at a different frequency, with 128 elements per ring. In this project, one ring will be used for imaging. A large (5mm diameter) lumen is available for delivering other devices, including high intensity focused ultrasound transducers for therapeutic applications or optical fibers for photoacoustic imaging.
We address several challenges in developing a 3D imaging system. Through wafer vias are incorporated in the fabrication process for producing 2D CMUT arrays. Device integration with electronics is achieved through solder bumping the arrays, designing a flexible PCB, and flip chip bonding CMUT and ASICs to the flexible substrate. Finally, we describe a method for integrating the flex assembly into a catheter shaft. The package, once assembled, will be used for in-vivo open chest experiments.