Novel transmit protection scheme for ultrasound systems
ABSTRACT The problem of protecting or isolating extremely sensitive receive circuitry from high-voltage transmit circuitry is commonly addressed through the use of diode bridges, transformers, or high-voltage switches, which prove to be prohibitively expensive, bulky, and power consuming for use in portable, low-cost, battery-powered systems. These approaches also compound the interconnect difficulties associated with two-dimensional (2-D) transducer arrays. In this paper we present a novel transmit protection scheme that allows compact MOSFET shunting devices to be brought on-chip within each receive channel implemented in a standard CMOS integrated circuit process. During transmit, the high voltage transmit pulse is driven onto the common connection of the transducer array and the on-chip MOSFET devices shunt the current to ground. During receive, these devices are turned off, the common connection of the transducer array is shunted to ground, and the received echo can be detected as usual. The transmit protection scheme was experimentally shown to shunt a 16 mA peak current resulting from the equivalent of a 100-V, 25-ns-risetime transmit pulse through a 4 pF transducer element. The scheme was also incorporated into a prototype 1024-channel, low-cost, ultrasound system successfully used to form pulse echo images.