Design considerations for ultrasound detectors in photoacoustic breast imaging

W. Xia, Daniele Piras, Mithun Kuniyil Ajith Singh, Johan C.G. van Hespen, Spiridon van Veldhoven, Christian Prins, Ton G. van Leeuwen, Wiendelt Steenbergen, Srirang Manohar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


The ultrasound detector is the heart of a photoacoustic imaging system. In photoacoustic imaging of the breast there is a requirement to detect tumors located a few centimeters deep in tissue, where the light is heavily attenuated. Thus a sensitive ultrasound transducer is of crucial importance. As the frequency content of photoacoustic waves are inversely proportional to the dimensions of the absorbing structures, and in tissue can range from hundreds of kHz to tens of MHz, a broadband ultrasound transducer is required centered on an optimum frequency. A single element piezoelectric transducer structurally consists of the active piezoelectric material, front- and back-matching layers and a backing layer. To have both high sensitivity and broad bandwidth, the materials, their acoustic characteristics and their dimensions should be carefully chosen. In this paper, we present design considerations of an ultrasound transducer for imaging the breast such as the detector sensitivity and frequency response, which guides the selection of active material, matching layers and their geometries. We iterate between simulation of detector performance and experimental characterization of functional models to arrive at an optimized implementation. For computer simulation, we use 1D KLM and 3D finite-element based models. The optimized detector has a large-aperture possessing a center frequency of 1 MHz with fractional bandwidth of more than 80%. The measured minimum detectable pressure is 0.5 Pa, which is two orders of magnitude lower than the detector used in the Twente photoacoustic mammoscope. © (2013) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhotons Plus Utrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2013
Subtitle of host publication3–5 February 2013, San Francisco, California, United States
EditorsAlexander A. Oraevsky, Lihong V. Wang
Place of PublicationBellingham, WA
ISBN (Print)9780819493507
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2013
EventPhotons plus ultrasound : imaging and sensing 2013 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 3 Feb 20135 Feb 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferencePhotons plus ultrasound : imaging and sensing 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • Photoacoustic
  • Ultrasound transducer
  • Breast imaging
  • Finite element model


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