Capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers for therapeutic ultrasound applications.


Serena H Wong, Mario Kupnik, Ronald D Watkins, Kim Butts-Pauly, and Butrus Pierre T Khuri-Yakub. 2010. “Capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers for therapeutic ultrasound applications.” IEEE Trans Biomed Eng, 57, 1, Pp. 114-23. Copy at


Therapeutic ultrasound guided by MRI is a noninvasive treatment that potentially reduces mortality, lowers medical costs, and widens accessibility of treatments for patients. Recent developments in the design and fabrication of capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers (CMUTs) have made them competitive with piezoelectric transducers for use in therapeutic ultrasound applications. In this paper, we present the first designs and prototypes of an eight-element, concentric-ring, CMUT array to treat upper abdominal cancers. This array was simulated and designed to focus 30-50 mm into tissue, and ablate a 2- to 3-cm-diameter tumor within 1 h. Assuming a surface acoustic output pressure of 1 MPa peak-to-peak (8.5 W/cm (2)) at 2.5 MHz, we simulated an array that produced a focal intensity of 680 W/cm (2) when focusing to 35 mm. CMUT cells were then designed to meet these frequency and surface acoustic intensity specifications. These cell designs were fabricated as 2.5 mm x 2.5 mm test transducers and used to verify our models. The test transducers were shown to operate at 2.5 MHz with an output pressure of 1.4 MPa peak-to-peak (16.3 W/cm (2)). With this CMUT cell design, we fabricated a full eight-element array. Due to yield issues, we only developed electronics to focus the four center elements of the array. The beam profile of the measured array deviated from the simulated one because of the crosstalk effects; the beamwidth matched within 10% and sidelobes increased by two times, which caused the measured gain to be 16.6 compared to 27.4.