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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Design and analysis of capacitive micromachined ultrasound transducer Motieian Najar, Mohammad Hadi


Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasound Transducers (CMUTs) have been recently introduced as a viable substitute to piezoelectric transducers in medical ultrasound imaging. CMUT possesses advantages such as allowing high frequency, having wide bandwidth, high sensitivity, low cost, CMOS compatibility and being easy to fabricate. This thesis is motivated by movement towards a better detection of breast tumors using ultrasound imaging techniques, which CMUTs have promised to achieve. Therefore, CMUTs were designed to fulfill requirements of this application in terms of resonant frequency, pull-in voltage and geometrical dimensions. The entire design and analysis were performed considering that the CMUTs are to be fabricated using PolyMUMPs technology, for this technology being precise, accurate and well established in the micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) community. CMUTs were first analytically modeled and designed by exploiting the parallel-plate capacitor equations. A behavioral model was developed in VHDL-AMS, which, unlike previous models, incorporates the non-linear electromechanical relations of the CMUT. The behavioral model has the advantage of being more time efficient than finite element models (FEM) and more accurate than analytical models. Prior to fabrication, a 3D FEM was developed in COMSOL Multiphysics® software. Resonant frequency analysis determined the frequency response and eigenfrequencies of the CMUT, which could not be determined using previous models. Parametric analysis determined the pull-in voltage, the spring constant and spring softening effect, the variation in capacitance and the electromechanical efficiency of the CMUT. The CMUT resonated at 5.868MHz frequency and the collapse voltage was determined at 275V using FEM results, which were close to analytical modeling results and in excellent agreement with behavioral modeling results. The thickness and the radius of the circular CMUT membrane were found to be 1.5μm and 32μm, respectively. The air/vacuum gap distance was 0.75μm and the insulation layer was 0.6μm. The CMUTs were fabricated in cell and array form. An array of 128 elements each containing 118 cells were fabricated to be compatible with existing ultrasound probes. Unfortunately, due to mal-fabrication by the company, which was experimentally proved, the experimental results were not as successful.

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