The proposed technology aims to enable 3D localization of scatterers using single element ultrasonic transducers, which are traditionally limited to 1D measurements. This is achieved by designing a bespoke acoustic lens with a spiral-shaped pattern similar to the human outer ear, a shape that has evolved for sound source localization. This lens breaks the surface symmetry of the transducer, allowing ultrasonic waves arriving from different directions to be encoded in a certain way that can later be decoded to extract directional information. By employing the mechanism of spatial-encoding of the received signals and decoding via signal processing, the location of sub-wavelength scatterers can be detected in 3D with a single measurement for sparsely distributed scatterers. The proposed technology is first verified through a simulation study, and then 3D printed acoustic lenses are used to demonstrate the 3D encoding functionality of the Human Ear-inspired Ultrasonic Transducer (HEUT) experimentally. A framework is created to localize scatterers in 3D by processing received signals acquired by a HEUT prototype. With this technology, a single transducer can obtain multi-dimensional information with a single pulse-echo measurement, reducing the number of elements required for performing 3D ultrasound localization. The proposed spatial-encoding and -decoding technology can be applied to other wave-based imaging methods to develop affordable, practical, and compact sensing devices.
A human ear-inspired ultrasonic transducer (HEUT) for 3D localization of sub-wavelength scatterers
Luzhen Nie, Matthieu Toulemonde, Meng-Xing Tang, Steven Freear, Sevan Harput; A human ear-inspired ultrasonic transducer (HEUT) for 3D localization of sub-wavelength scatterers. Appl. Phys. Lett. 21 August 2023; 123 (8): 082203. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0152029
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