Skip to Main Content
A broadband all-optical ultrasound transducer has been designed, fabricated, and evaluated for high- frequency ultrasound imaging. The device consists of a 2-D gold nanostructure imprinted on top of a glass substrate, followed by a 3 mum PDMS layer and a 30 nm gold layer. A laser pulse at the resonance wavelength of the gold nanostructure is focused onto the surface for ultrasound generation, while the gold nanostructure, together with the 30 nm thick gold layer and the PDMS layer in between, forms an etalon for ultrasound detection, which uses a CW laser at a wavelength far from resonance as the probing beam. The center frequency of a pulse-echo signal recorded in the far field of the transducer is 40 MHz with -6 dB bandwidth of 57 MHz. The signal to noise ratio (SNR) from a 70 mum diameter transmit element combined with a 20 mum diameter receive element probing a near perfect reflector positioned 1.5 mm from the transducer surface is more than 10 dB and has the potential to be improved by at least another 40 dB. A high-frequency ultrasound array has been emulated using multiple measurements from the transducer while mechanically scanning an imaging target. Characterization of the device's optical and acoustical properties, as well as preliminary imaging results, strongly suggest that all-optical ultrasound transducers can be used to build high-frequency arrays for real-time high-resolution ultrasound imaging.