Two dimensional arrays for real time 3D intravascular ultrasound.
We have previously described 2D arrays operating at up to 10.0 MHz consisting of several thousand elements for transthoracic cardiac imaging and over a hundred elements for intracardiac imaging using 7 Fr to 12 Fr catheters. We have begun to explore forward viewing real time 3D phased array intravascular ultrasound, which may require imaging depths of a few centimeters to look down the axis of a vessel to view vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque. We used a noncoaxial based cable technology that allowed 100 signal wires to be placed inside a4.8 French IVUS lumen with an inner diameter of 1.3 mm. We pursued two different fabrication technologies for the building of the transducers. Each transducer was constructed in the forward viewing configuration to allow simultaneous real time B-scans, C-scans and volumetric rendering of vessels and vascular stents distal to the catheter tip. In order to obtain the desired penetration depth, each transducer was constructed to operate at 10.0 MHz. The first method included an ordered array of 11 x 11 = 121 elements. In order to conform to the round aperture of the IVUS lumen, the comers were cut off, resulting in a total of 97 signal channels. Real time images include a 4 mm diameter vessel in a tissue mimicking phantom, an expanded stent and a stent in an excised sheep aorta. The second method is based upon a laser dicing technique that cuts the individual elements in a random pattern. This resulted in 61 signal channels. Real time 3D images of the AIUM test object were made with this transducer.
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