Passive focusing techniques for piezoelectric air-coupled ultrasonic transducers

TEG Álvarez-Arenas, J Camacho, C Fritsch
Ultrasonics, vol. 67, 2016, pp. 85-93

This paper proposes a novel passive focusing system for Air-Coupled Ultrasonic (ACU) piezoelectric transducers which is inspired by the Newtonian–Cassegrain (NC) telescope concept. It consist of a primary spherical mirror with an output hole and a flat secondary mirror, normal to the propagation axis, that is the transducer surface itself. The device is modeled and acoustic field is calculated showing a collimated beam with a symmetrical focus. A prototype according to this design is built and tested with an ACU piezoelectric transducer with center frequency at 400 kHz, high-sensitivity, wideband and 25 mm diameter flat aperture. The acoustic field is measured and compared with calculations. The presented prototype exhibit a 1.5 mm focus width and a collimated beam up to 15 mm off the output hole. In addition, the performance of this novel design is compared, both theoretically and experimentally, with two techniques used before for electrostatic transducers: the Fresnel Zone Plate – FZP and the off-axis parabolic or spherical mirror.

The proposed NC arrangement has a coaxial design, which eases the transducers positioning and use in many applications, and is less bulky than off-axis mirrors. Unlike in off-axis mirrors, it is now possible to use a spherical primary mirror with minimum aberrations. FZP provides a more compact solution and is easy to build, but presents some background noise due to interference of waves diffracted at out of focus regions. By contrast, off-axis parabolic mirrors provide a well defined focus and are free from background noise, although they are bulky and more difficult to build. Spherical mirrors are more easily built, but this yields a non symmetric beam and a poorly defined focus.


This work was supported by a R&D contract with Dasel, S.L. in the framework of the EuroStar E!8929 Nuthic project, funded by the E. U. and by the DPI 2011-22348 project funded by the National R&D program, Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity. We want also to acknowledge the assistance of L. Díez, E. Villanueva and J.C. Liébana in the development of the transducer prototypes.