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Design and Experimental Evaluations of a Low-Frequency Hemispherical Ultrasound Phased-Array System for Transcranial Blood–Brain Barrier Disruption

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4 Author(s)
Hao-Li Liu ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Chang-Gung Univ., Taoyuan ; Heng-Wen Chen ; Zhen-Hao Kuo ; Wen-Cheng Huang

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate a prototype design of a low-frequency multiple-channel hemispherical focused-ultrasound phased-array system for transcranial disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). A 32-channel ultrasound driving system tunable in the frequency range from 200 to 400 kHz was designed for producing a suitable ultrasound output for BBB disruption. The driving system includes a microcontroller/field-programmable gate-array-based control kernel with multiple-channel driving circuits implemented by a high-voltage switching/LC-resonance/impedance-matching circuit module. Three hemispherical phased arrays comprising 22, 31, and 80 elements were fabricated and tested. The pressure distributions at the geometric center and at off-center positions were tested experimentally. The focal performance of the different hemispherical arrays was also evaluated theoretically. The results showed that the developed phased-array system can successfully drive the hemispherical array with multiple-channel ultrasound signals with independent phase control at 8-bit resolution. Good focusing abilities were evident both at the geometric center and at specific off-center target positions. Preliminary animal experiments show that the BBB in rat can be locally disrupted successfully. The system will serve as a reference platform for developing a focused-ultrasound system for clinical use in brain drug delivery applications.

Published in:

Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:55 ,  Issue: 10 )