A Microwave-Induced Thermoacoustic Imaging System with Non-Contact Ultrasound Detection
IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control
Portable and easy-to-use imaging systems are in high demand for medical, security screening, nondestructive testing, and sensing applications. We present a new microwave-induced thermoacoustic imaging system with non-contact, airborne ultrasound (US) detection. In this system, a 2.7 GHz microwave excitation causes differential heating at interfaces with dielectric contrast, and the resulting US signal via the thermoacoustic effect travels out of the sample to the detector in air at a standoff.
... air at a standoff. The 65 dB interface loss due to the impedance mismatch at the air-sample boundary is overcome with high-sensitivity capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers with minimum detectable pressures (MDPs) as low as 278 μ Pa rms and we explore two different designs-one operating at a center frequency of 71 kHz and another at a center frequency of 910 kHz. We further demonstrate that the air-sample interface presents a tradeoff with the advantage of improved resolution, as the change in wave velocity at the interface creates a strong focusing effect alongside the attenuation, resulting in axial resolutions more than 10× smaller than that predicted by the traditional speed/bandwidth limit. A piecewise synthetic aperture radar (SAR) algorithm modified for US imaging and enhanced with signal processing techniques is used for image reconstruction, resulting in mm-scale lateral and axial image resolution. Finally, measurements are conducted to verify simulations and demonstrate successful system performance.