3A Medical Ultrasound Transducers

Title Medical Ultrasound Transducers
Instructor(s) and Affiliation Douglas Douglas G. Wildes and

ScottSmith L. Scott Smith

GE Global Research, Niskayuna, NY, USA

Short biography of instructor(s) Douglas G. Wildes is a physicist with GE Global Research.   He earned an A.B. in physics and mathematics from Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. in low-temperature physics from Cornell University, then joined GE in 1985. Since 1991, Dr. Wildes’ research has focused on aperture design, fabrication processes, and high-density interconnect technology for multi-row and 4D imaging transducers for medical ultrasound. Dr. Wildes has 42 issued patents and more than 25 external publications. He is a member of the American Physical Society and a Senior Member of the IEEE.


L. Scott Smith is a physicist with GE Global Research. He earned B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of Rochester and the University of Pennsylvania respectively.   Joining GE in 1976, he developed phased array probes for medical ultrasound. More recently, he led projects on adaptive acoustics and novel probe materials and methods. Dr. Smith has 56 issued patents and over 40 refereed publications. He is a member of the American Physical Society and a Senior Member of the IEEE where he serves as an Associate Editor for the Transactions on UFFC, and on this symposium’s Technical Program Committee.


Abstract Ultrasound has grown to be the most commonly performed medical imaging procedure in the world because it delivers high clinical value in real-time while being portable, non-ionizing and inexpensive. This course will provide an introductory survey of ultrasound imaging focused on the design, fabrication, and testing of medical ultrasound transducers. Starting from an overview of the basic types of phased-array transducers (linear, convex, sector), we will show how the probe’s design is derived from its target application. We will describe how engineering tools, like equivalent-circuit, finite-element, and acoustic field models, can be used to predict transducer performance accurately, and then to optimize the design. A discussion of the structure of an ultrasound probe will lead to a survey of the different types of materials used in probes and their critical properties. Typical fabrication processes will be reviewed and common problems in probe manufacturing will be summarized. Methods for evaluating completed transducers will be described. The course will include recent developments in probe technology, including single crystal piezoelectrics, cMUT transducers, catheters, 2D arrays, and electronics in probes, and will address some of the performance advantages and fabrication difficulties associated with them.
Overview of topics covered Medical ultrasound imaging principles

Array types:   form follows function

Transducer design methods and models: electroacoustic response and acoustic radiation field

Materials, fabrication, characterization and testing


Target audience Students working in the field, and non-specialists seeking an introductory survey.