Flexible large-area ultrasound arrays for medical applications made using embossed polymer structures

Paul L.M.J. van Neer, Laurens C.J.M. Peters, Roy G.F.A. Verbeek, Bart Peeters, Gerard de Haas, Lars Hörchens, Laurent Fillinger, Thijs Schrama, Egon J.W. Merks-Swolfs, Kaj Gijsbertse, Anne E.C.M. Saris, Moein Mozaffarzadeh, Jan M. Menssen, Chris L. de Korte, Jan Laurens P.J. van der Steen, Arno W.F. Volker, Gerwin H. Gelinck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

With the huge progress in micro-electronics and artificial intelligence, the ultrasound probe has become the bottleneck in further adoption of ultrasound beyond the clinical setting (e.g. home and monitoring applications). Today, ultrasound transducers have a small aperture, are bulky, contain lead and are expensive to fabricate. Furthermore, they are rigid, which limits their integration into flexible skin patches. New ways to fabricate flexible ultrasound patches have therefore attracted much attention recently. First prototypes typically use the same lead-containing piezo-electric materials, and are made using micro-assembly of rigid active components on plastic or rubber-like substrates. We present an ultrasound transducer-on-foil technology based on thermal embossing of a piezoelectric polymer. High-quality two-dimensional ultrasound images of a tissue mimicking phantom are obtained. Mechanical flexibility and effective area scalability of the transducer are demonstrated by functional integration into an endoscope probe with a small radius of 3 mm and a large area (91.2×14 mm2) non-invasive blood pressure sensor.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2802
Number of pages10
JournalNature communications
Volume15
Issue number1
Early online date30 Mar 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 30 Mar 2024

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