Skip to Main Content
This paper describes a new thermally based method of monitoring acoustic output power generated by ultrasonic transducers. Its novelty lies in the exploitation of the pyroelectric properties of a thin membrane of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). The membrane is backed by a thick layer of polyurethane rubber that is extremely attenuating to ultrasound, with the result that the majority of the applied acoustic power is absorbed within a few millimeters of the membrane-backing interface. Through the resultant rapid increase in temperature of the membrane, a voltage is generated across its electrodes whose magnitude is proportional to the rate of change of temperature with respect to time. Changes in the pyroelectric voltage generated by switching the transducer ON and OFF are related to the acoustic power delivered by the transducer. Features of the technique are explored through the development of a simple one-dimensional model. An experimental evaluation of the potential secondary measurement technique is also presented, covering the frequency range 1 to 5 MHz, for delivered powers up to a watt. Predictions of the sensor output signals, as well as the frequency dependent sensitivity, are in good agreement with observation. The potential of the new method as a simple, rapid means of providing traceable ultrasonic power measurements is outlined.