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Broadband ultrasound field mapping system using a wavelength tuned, optically scanned focused laser beam to address a Fabry Perot polymer film sensor.

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Department of Medical Physics and Bioengineering, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK.


An optical system for rapidly mapping broad-band ultrasound fields with high spatial resolution has been developed. The transduction mechanism is based upon the detection of acoustically induced changes in the optical thickness of a thin polymer film acting as a Fabry Perot sensing interferometer (FPI). By using a PC-controlled galvanometer mirror to line-scan a focused laser beam over the surface of the FPI, and a wavelength-tuned phase bias control system to optimally set the FPI working point, a notional 1D ultrasound array was synthesized. This system enabled ultrasound fields to be mapped over an aperture of 40 mm, in 50-microm steps with an optically defined element size of 50 microm and an acquisition time of 50 ms per step. The sensor comprised a 38-microm polymer film FPI which was directly vacuum-deposited onto an impedance-matched polycarbonate backing stub. The -3 dB acoustic bandwidth of the sensor was 300 kHz to 28 MHz and the peak noise-equivalent-pressure was 10 kPa over a 20-MHz measurement bandwidth. To demonstrate the system, the outputs of various planar and focused pulsed ultrasound transducers with operating frequencies in the range 3.5 to 20 MHz were mapped. It is considered that this approach offers a practical and inexpensive alternative to piezoelectric-based arrays and scanning systems for rapid transducer field characterization and biomedical and industrial ultrasonic imaging applications.


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