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In this paper we describe a new approach for the design of ultrasono-therapy transducers. Usually, in this kind of transducer, a /spl lambda//2 front plate is inserted only in order to ensure a good mechanical protection of the active crystal from the surrounding medium. However, with an accurate design, the plate can also be used to match the piezoelectric element to the load both in terms of gain and bandwidth. To this end we apply the technique normally used in acoustical imaging and nondestructive testing, and, by means of a distributed matrix model, we optimize the thickness and impedance of the plate in order to obtain a strong response and a large bandwidth at the working frequency. Using a front plate of thickness about /spl lambda//3, the model predicts better performances than the ones obtained with the classical design, also in terms of efficiency. An experimental comparison between a transducer realized according to the proposed design and a commercial half wave transducer shows better performances the former and therefore validates the new design criterion.