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J Microelectromech Syst. 2010 Dec 1;19(6):1341-1351.

Encapsulation of Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducers Using Viscoelastic Polymer.

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  • 1E. L. Ginzton Laboratory, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305 USA (


The packaging of a medical imaging or therapeutic ultrasound transducer should provide protective insulation while maintaining high performance. For a capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducer (CMUT), an ideal encapsulation coating would therefore require a limited and predictable change on the static operation point and the dynamic performance, while insulating the high dc and dc actuation voltages from the environment. To fulfill these requirements, viscoelastic materials, such as polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), were investigated for an encapsulation material. In addition, PDMS, with a glass-transition temperature below room temperature, provides a low Young's modulus that preserves the static behavior; at higher frequencies for ultrasonic operation, this material becomes stiffer and acoustically matches to water. In this paper, we demonstrate the modeling and implementation of the viscoelastic polymer as the encapsulation material. We introduce a finite element model (FEM) that addresses viscoelasticity. This enables us to correctly calculate both the static operation point and the dynamic behavior of the CMUT. CMUTs designed for medical imaging and therapeutic ultrasound were fabricated and encapsulated. Static and dynamic measurements were used to verify the FEM and show excellent agreement. This paper will help in the design process for optimizing the static and the dynamic behavior of viscoelastic-polymer-coated CMUTs.

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