We present the operation of capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers (CMUTs) in permanent contact mode as an efficient transducer. The gap height of our transducers is chosen to be slightly smaller than the static deflection of the plate due to the pressure difference between the ambient and the vacuum cavity. Thus, the plates are in contact with the bottom of the cavities even with no dc bias applied. The devices were fabricated based on the thick box process. High-temperature assisted direct wafer bonding technique was used to fabricate devices with such large cell size (radii ∼ 2000 μm) featuring low frequencies ∼100–150 kHz. Extensive acoustic characterization was performed to demonstrate the behavior of such CMUTs in terms of displacement profile, output pressure and acoustic pitch-catch response. A maximum sound pressure of ∼145 dB (SPL) at the transducer surface is measured at 240 V dc and 10 V ac with 100 cycles of burst signal. This is a great improvement from conventional CMUTs (with deeper gap height, operating at 55 kHz), which requires 350 V dc and 200 V ac in order to achieve an output pressure of 129 dB (SPL) at the transducer surface. The results presented in this paper demonstrate that operating CMUTs in permanent contact mode indeed enhances the device output pressure, and provides a good candidate for efficient ultrasonic transducers.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.