Patent Number: 6,168,564

Title: Steerable transducer array for intracardial ultrasonic imaging

Abstract: In an ultrasonic imaging system, a transducer array structure, preferably a linear one-dimensional array on a catheter, is provided wherein the direction of a beam is controlled by a preselected, linear delay profile implementing a linear portion of a beam forming equation so that the array is effectively curved electronically. Beam forming is effected independently of the steering. An active aperture is provided by which a beam is steered according to linear array techniques. The active aperture comprises selected adjacent subsets of transducer elements of the array structure. The delay profile may be implemented by delay lines to each transducer element or by any preselected delay elements whereby the flatness or curvature of the array structure is matched and so that beam steering can be implemented by simple translation of the aperture along the transducer array. The pitch or separation between the transducer elements may be uniform or varied. Varied pitch permits sparser spacing of transducer elements along portions of the array structure. A quadratic portion of a beam forming equation is implemented in a beam former to control focus of the elements of the active aperture at each position of the active aperture.

Inventors: Teo; Tat-Jin (Sunnyvale, CA)

Assignee: Sci-Med Life Systems, Inc.

International Classification: A61B 8/12 (20060101); A61B 8/00 (20060101); G01S 15/89 (20060101); G01S 15/00 (20060101); G10K 11/34 (20060101); G10K 11/00 (20060101); A61B 008/00 (); A61B 008/12 ()

Expiration Date: 01/02/2018