Modeling and Characterization of Pre-Charged Collapse-Mode CMUTs

Marta Saccher, Shinnosuke Kawasaki, Johan Klootwijk, Rob van Schaijk, Ronald Dekker

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Recently, the applications of ultrasound transducers expanded from high-end diagnostic tools to point of care diagnostic devices and wireless power receivers for implantable devices. These new applications additionally require that the transducer technology must comply to biocompatibility and manufacturing scalability. In this respect, Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasound Transducers (CMUTs) have a strong advantage compared to the conventional PZT based transducers. However, current CMUTs require a large DC bias voltage for their operation, which limits the miniaturizability of these devices. In this study, we propose a pre-charged collapse-mode CMUT for immersive applications that can operate without an external bias by means of a charge trapping Al2O3 layer embedded in the dielectrics between the top and bottom electrodes. The built-in charge layer was analytically modeled and four layer stack combinations were investigated and characterized. The measurement results of the CMUTs were then used to fit the model and to quantify the amount and type of trapped charge. It was found that these devices polarize due to the ferroelectric-like behavior of the Al2O3, and the amount of charge stored in the charge-trapping layer was estimated to be approximately 0.02 C/m2. Their acoustic performance shows a transmit and receive sensitivity of 8.8 kPa/V and 13.1 V/MPa respectively. In addition, we show that increasing the charging temperature, the charging duration, and the charging voltage results in a higher amount of stored charge. Finally, results of ALT tests showed that these devices have a lifetime of more than 2.5 years at body temperature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-28
Number of pages15
Journal IEEE Open Journal of Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Ultrasonic imaging
  • Transducers
  • Electrodes
  • Performance evaluation
  • Biomembranes
  • Sensitivity
  • Electrostatics
  • CMUT
  • zero-bias CMUTs
  • collapse-mode CMUTs
  • ultrasound transducer


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