The main aim of this paper is to provide the feasibility of non-destructive testing (NDT) method, such as scanning acoustic microscopy (SAM), for damage detection in ultrasound (US) probes for medical imaging during the manufacturing process. In a highly competitive and demanding electronics and biomedical market, reliable non-destructive methods for quality control and failure analysis of electronic components within multi-layered structures are strongly required. Any robust non-destructive method should be capable of dealing with the complexity of miniaturized assemblies, such as the acoustic stack of ultrasonic transducers. In this work, the application of SAM in an industrial scenario was studied for 24 samples of a phased array probe, in order to investigate potential internal integrity, to detect damages, and to assess the compliance of high-demanding quality requirements. Delamination, non-homogeneous layers with micron-thickness, and entrapped air bubbles (blisters) in the bulk of US probe acoustic stacks were detected and studied. Analysis of 2D images and defects visualization by means of ultrasound-based NDT method were compared with electroacoustic characterization (also following as pulse-echo test) of the US probe through an ad-hoc measurement system. SAM becomes very useful for defect detection in multilayered structures with a thickness of some microns by assuring low time-consuming (a limit for other NDT techniques) and quantitative analyses based on measurements. The study provides a tangible contribution and identifies an advantage for manufacturers of ultrasound probes that are oriented toward continuous improvement devoted to the process capability, product quality, and in-process inspection.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited