Fabrication, modelling and use of porous ceramics for ultrasonic transducer applications

Journal of Electroceramics (Impact Factor: 1.42). 08/2007; 19(1):127-139. DOI: 10.1007/s10832-007-9117-3

ABSTRACT Porous ceramics are of interest for ultrasonic transducer applications. Porosity allows to decrease acoustical impedance,
thus improving transfer of acoustical energy to water or biological tissues. For underwater applications, the dhgh figure of merit can also be improved as compared to dense materials. In the case of high frequency transducers, namely for
high resolution medical imaging, thick film technology can be used. The active films are generally porous and this porosity
must be controlled. An unpoled porous PZT substrate is also shown to be an interesting solution since it can be used in a
screen-printing process and as a backing for the transducer. This paper describes the fabrication process to obtain such materials,
presents microstructure analysis as well as functional properties of materials. Modelling is also performed and results are
compared to measurements. Finally, transducer issues are addressed through modelling and design of several configurations.
The key parameters are identified and their effect on transducer performance is discussed. A comparison with dense materials
is performed and results are discussed to highlight in which cases porous piezoceramics can improve transducer performance,
and improvements are quantified.

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