Micromachined silicon acoustic delay line with 3D-printed micro linkers and tapered input for improved structural stability and acoustic directivity
Additional Document Info
2016 IOP Publishing Ltd. Recent studies have shown that micromachined silicon acoustic delay lines can provide a promising solution to achieve real-time photoacoustic tomography without the need for complex transducer arrays and data acquisition electronics. To achieve deeper imaging depth and wider field of view, a longer delay time and therefore delay length are required. However, as the length of the delay line increases, it becomes more vulnerable to structural instability due to reduced mechanical stiffness. In this paper, we report the design, fabrication, and testing of a new silicon acoustic delay line enhanced with 3D printed polymer micro linker structures. First, mechanical deformation of the silicon acoustic delay line (with and without linker structures) under gravity was simulated by using finite element method. Second, the acoustic crosstalk and acoustic attenuation caused by the polymer micro linker structures were evaluated with both numerical simulation and ultrasound transmission testing. The result shows that the use of the polymer micro linker structures significantly improves the structural stability of the silicon acoustic delay lines without creating additional acoustic attenuation and crosstalk. In addition, the improvement of the acoustic acceptance angle of the silicon acoustic delay lines was also investigated to better suppress the reception of unwanted ultrasound signals outside of the imaging plane. These two improvements are expected to provide an effective solution to eliminate current limitations on the achievable acoustic delay time and out-of-plane imaging resolution of micromachined silicon acoustic delay line arrays.