In this letter, a compact high-voltage (HV) transmit circuit for dense 2-D transducer arrays used in 3-D ultrasonic imaging systems is presented. Stringent area requirements are addressed by a unipolar pulser with embedded transmit/receive switch. Combined with a capacitive HV level shifter, it forms the ultrasonic HV transmit circuit with the lowest reported HV transistor count and area without any static power consumption. The balanced latched-based level shifter implementation makes the design insensitive to transients on the HV supply caused by pulsing, facilitating application in probes with limited local supply decoupling, such as imaging catheters. Favorable scaling through resource sharing benefits massively arrayed architectures while preserving full individual functionality. A prototype of 8 × 9 elements was fabricated in the TSMC 0.18 μm HV BCD technology and a 160μm×160μm PZT transducer matrix is manufactured on the chip. The system is designed to drive 65-V peak-to-peak pulses on 2-pF transducer capacitance and hardware sharing of six elements allows for an area of only 0.008 mm2 per element. Electrical characterization as well as acoustic results obtained with the 6-MHz central frequency transducer are demonstrated.
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- BCD technology
- high-voltage (HV) level shifter
- high-voltage pulser
- PZT transducer
- supply transient
- transmit/receive switching