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Special Issue "Ultrasonic Sensors"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Physical Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2016).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Dipen N. Sinha
Website
Guest Editor
Materials Synthesis and Integrated Devices group (MPA-11), Los Alamos National Laboratory, MS D429, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545, USA
Interests: ultrasonic based sensors; nonlinear acoustics; acoustically engineered materials; ultrasonic concentration and manipulation of particles; swept frequency acoustic interferometry; biomedical sensors and fluid characterization techniques
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Cristian Pantea
Website
Guest Editor
Materials Physics and Applications (MPA-11), Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87544, USA
Interests: ultrasonic-based sensors and methods; ultrasonic pulse-echo; ultrasonic interferometry; nonlinear acoustic methods; swept-frequency acoustic interferometry (SFAI); resonant ultrasound spectroscopy (RUS); high pressure–high temperature ultrasonic
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ultrasonic sensors are widely used in a multitude of applications all around us, starting from proximity sensors in automobiles, to medical and a wide range of industries.

This Special Issue aims to highlight advances in the modeling and development of novel ultrasonic sensors with applications in diverse fields. Topics include, but are not limited, to:

  • Non-destructive testing/Material characterization
  • Physical acoustics (solids; liquids and gases)
  • Medical and Biomedical ultrasonic sensors
  • Non-linear ultrasound
  • High power ultrasonics
  • Industrial applications (oil and gas, geothermal, automotive, etc.)
  • Ultrasonic imaging & visualization
  • Acoustic microscopy
  • Air-coupled ultrasonics
  • Biomedical ultrasound
  • Underwater acoustics
  • Challenging environments: high/low temperature, pressure, radiation, corrosiveness

Both review articles and original research papers in the field of ultrasonic sensors are solicited.

Dr. Dipen N. Sinha
Dr. Cristian Pantea
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Ultrasonic sensors
  • Piezoelectric materials
  • Non-destructive testing
  • Industrial applications
  • Aeroacoustics
  • Underwater acoustics
  • Nonlinear acoustics

Published Papers (27 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
A Guided Wave Sensor Enabling Simultaneous Wavenumber-Frequency Analysis for Both Lamb and Shear-Horizontal Waves
Sensors 2017, 17(3), 488; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17030488 - 01 Mar 2017
Cited by 10
Abstract
Guided waves in plate-like structures have been widely investigated for structural health monitoring. Lamb waves and shear horizontal (SH) waves, two commonly used types of waves in plates, provide different benefits for the detection of various types of defects and material degradation. However, [...] Read more.
Guided waves in plate-like structures have been widely investigated for structural health monitoring. Lamb waves and shear horizontal (SH) waves, two commonly used types of waves in plates, provide different benefits for the detection of various types of defects and material degradation. However, there are few sensors that can detect both Lamb and SH waves and also resolve their modal content, namely the wavenumber-frequency spectrum. A sensor that can detect both waves is desirable to take full advantage of both types of waves in order to improve sensitivity to different discontinuity geometries. We demonstrate that polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) film provides the basis for a multi-element array sensor that detects both Lamb and SH waves and also measures their modal content, i.e., the wavenumber-frequency spectrum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Hybrid Visible Light and Ultrasound-Based Sensor for Distance Estimation
Sensors 2017, 17(2), 330; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17020330 - 10 Feb 2017
Cited by 11
Abstract
Distance estimation plays an important role in location-based services, which has become very popular in recent years. In this paper, a new short range cricket sensor-based approach is proposed for indoor location applications. This solution uses Time Difference of Arrival (TDoA) between an [...] Read more.
Distance estimation plays an important role in location-based services, which has become very popular in recent years. In this paper, a new short range cricket sensor-based approach is proposed for indoor location applications. This solution uses Time Difference of Arrival (TDoA) between an optical and an ultrasound signal which are transmitted simultaneously, to estimate the distance from the base station to the mobile receiver. The measurement of the TDoA at the mobile receiver endpoint is proportional to the distance. The use of optical and ultrasound signals instead of the conventional radio wave signal makes the proposed approach suitable for environments with high levels of electromagnetic interference or where the propagation of radio frequencies is entirely restricted. Furthermore, unlike classical cricket systems, a double-way measurement procedure is introduced, allowing both the base station and mobile node to perform distance estimation simultaneously. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
A Signal Processing Approach with a Smooth Empirical Mode Decomposition to Reveal Hidden Trace of Corrosion in Highly Contaminated Guided Wave Signals for Concrete-Covered Pipes
Sensors 2017, 17(2), 302; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17020302 - 07 Feb 2017
Cited by 13
Abstract
Ultrasonic guided waves have been extensively applied for non-destructive testing of plate-like structures particularly pipes in past two decades. In this regard, if a structure has a simple geometry, obtained guided waves’ signals are easy to explain. However, any small degree of complexity [...] Read more.
Ultrasonic guided waves have been extensively applied for non-destructive testing of plate-like structures particularly pipes in past two decades. In this regard, if a structure has a simple geometry, obtained guided waves’ signals are easy to explain. However, any small degree of complexity in the geometry such as contacting with other materials may cause an extra amount of complication in the interpretation of guided wave signals. The problem deepens if defects have irregular shapes such as natural corrosion. Signal processing techniques that have been proposed for guided wave signals’ analysis are generally good for simple signals obtained in a highly controlled experimental environment. In fact, guided wave signals in a real situation such as the existence of natural corrosion in wall-covered pipes are much more complicated. Considering pipes in residential buildings that pass through concrete walls, in this paper we introduced Smooth Empirical Mode Decomposition (SEMD) to efficiently separate overlapped guided waves. As empirical mode decomposition (EMD) which is a good candidate for analyzing non-stationary signals, suffers from some shortcomings, wavelet transform was adopted in the sifting stage of EMD to improve its outcome in SEMD. However, selection of mother wavelet that suits best for our purpose plays an important role. Since in guided wave inspection, the incident waves are well known and are usually tone-burst signals, we tailored a complex tone-burst signal to be used as our mother wavelet. In the sifting stage of EMD, wavelet de-noising was applied to eliminate unwanted frequency components from each IMF. SEMD greatly enhances the performance of EMD in guided wave analysis for highly contaminated signals. In our experiment on concrete covered pipes with natural corrosion, this method not only separates the concrete wall indication clearly in time domain signal, a natural corrosion with complex geometry that was hidden and located inside the concrete section was successfully exposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
A Liquid Level Measurement Technique Outside a Sealed Metal Container Based on Ultrasonic Impedance and Echo Energy
Sensors 2017, 17(1), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17010185 - 19 Jan 2017
Cited by 7
Abstract
The proposed method for measuring the liquid level focuses on the ultrasonic impedance and echo energy inside a metal wall, to which the sensor is attached directly, not on ultrasonic waves that penetrate the gas–liquid medium of a container. Firstly, by analyzing the [...] Read more.
The proposed method for measuring the liquid level focuses on the ultrasonic impedance and echo energy inside a metal wall, to which the sensor is attached directly, not on ultrasonic waves that penetrate the gas–liquid medium of a container. Firstly, by analyzing the sound field distribution characteristics of the sensor in a metal wall, this paper proposes the concept of an "energy circle" and discusses how to calculate echo energy under three different states in detail. Meanwhile, an ultrasonic transmitting and receiving circuit is designed to convert the echo energy inside the energy circle into its equivalent electric power. Secondly, in order to find the two critical states of the energy circle in the process of liquid level detection, a program is designed to help with calculating two critical positions automatically. Finally, the proposed method is evaluated through a series of experiments, and the experimental results indicate that the proposed method is effective and accurate in calibration of the liquid level outside a sealed metal container. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Two-Dimensional Numerical Simulations of Ultrasound in Liquids with Gas Bubble Agglomerates: Examples of Bubbly-Liquid-Type Acoustic Metamaterials (BLAMMs)
Sensors 2017, 17(1), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17010173 - 17 Jan 2017
Cited by 7
Abstract
This work deals with a theoretical analysis about the possibility of using linear and nonlinear acoustic properties to modify ultrasound by adding gas bubbles of determined sizes in a liquid. We use a two-dimensional numerical model to evaluate the effect that one and [...] Read more.
This work deals with a theoretical analysis about the possibility of using linear and nonlinear acoustic properties to modify ultrasound by adding gas bubbles of determined sizes in a liquid. We use a two-dimensional numerical model to evaluate the effect that one and several monodisperse bubble populations confined in restricted areas of a liquid have on ultrasound by calculating their nonlinear interaction. The filtering of an input ultrasonic pulse performed by a net of bubbly-liquid cells is analyzed. The generation of a low-frequency component from a single cell impinged by a two-frequency harmonic wave is also studied. These effects rely on the particular dispersive character of attenuation and nonlinearity of such bubbly fluids, which can be extremely high near bubble resonance. They allow us to observe how gas bubbles can change acoustic signals. Variations of the bubbly medium parameters induce alterations of the effects undergone by ultrasound. Results suggest that acoustic signals can be manipulated by bubbles. This capacity to achieve the modification and control of sound with oscillating gas bubbles introduces the concept of bubbly-liquid-based acoustic metamaterials (BLAMMs). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Compressed Sensing Techniques Applied to Ultrasonic Imaging of Cargo Containers
Sensors 2017, 17(1), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17010162 - 15 Jan 2017
Cited by 1
Abstract
One of the key issues in the fight against the smuggling of goods has been the development of scanners for cargo inspection. X-ray-based radiographic system scanners are the most developed sensing modality. However, they are costly and use bulky sources that emit hazardous, [...] Read more.
One of the key issues in the fight against the smuggling of goods has been the development of scanners for cargo inspection. X-ray-based radiographic system scanners are the most developed sensing modality. However, they are costly and use bulky sources that emit hazardous, ionizing radiation. Aiming to improve the probability of threat detection, an ultrasonic-based technique, capable of detecting the footprint of metallic containers or compartments concealed within the metallic structure of the inspected cargo, has been proposed. The system consists of an array of acoustic transceivers that is attached to the metallic structure-under-inspection, creating a guided acoustic Lamb wave. Reflections due to discontinuities are detected in the images, provided by an imaging algorithm. Taking into consideration that the majority of those images are sparse, this contribution analyzes the application of Compressed Sensing (CS) techniques in order to reduce the amount of measurements needed, thus achieving faster scanning, without compromising the detection capabilities of the system. A parametric study of the image quality, as a function of the samples needed in spatial and frequency domains, is presented, as well as the dependence on the sampling pattern. For this purpose, realistic cargo inspection scenarios have been simulated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Quantitative Assessment of First Annular Pulley and Adjacent Tissues Using High-Frequency Ultrasound
Sensors 2017, 17(1), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17010107 - 07 Jan 2017
Cited by 1
Abstract
Due to a lack of appropriate image resolution, most ultrasound scanners are unable to sensitively discern the pulley tissues. To extensively investigate the properties of the A1 pulley system and the surrounding tissues for assessing trigger finger, a 30 MHz ultrasound system was [...] Read more.
Due to a lack of appropriate image resolution, most ultrasound scanners are unable to sensitively discern the pulley tissues. To extensively investigate the properties of the A1 pulley system and the surrounding tissues for assessing trigger finger, a 30 MHz ultrasound system was implemented to perform in vitro experiments using the hypodermis, A1 pulley, and superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) dissected from cadavers. Ultrasound signals were acquired from both the transverse and sagittal planes of each tissue sample. The quantitative ultrasonic parameters, including sound speed, attenuation coefficient, integrated backscatter (IB) and Nakagami parameter (m), were subsequently estimated to characterize the tissue properties. The results demonstrated that the acquired ultrasound images have high resolution and are able to sufficiently differentiate the variations of tissue textures. Moreover, the attenuation slope of the hypodermis is larger than those of the A1 pulley and SDFT. The IB of A1 pulley is about the same as that of the hypodermis, and is very different from SDFT. The m parameter of the A1 pulley is also very different from those of hypodermis and SDFT. This study demonstrated that high-frequency ultrasound images in conjunction with ultrasonic parameters are capable of characterizing the A1 pulley system and surrounding tissues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Particle Accumulation in a Microchannel and Its Reduction by a Standing Surface Acoustic Wave (SSAW)
Sensors 2017, 17(1), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17010106 - 07 Jan 2017
Cited by 11
Abstract
Accumulation of particles in a high concentration on a microchannel wall is a common phenomenon in a colloidal fluid. Gradual accumulation/deposition of particles can eventually obstruct the fluid flow and lead to clogging, which seriously affects the accuracy and reliability of nozzle-based printing [...] Read more.
Accumulation of particles in a high concentration on a microchannel wall is a common phenomenon in a colloidal fluid. Gradual accumulation/deposition of particles can eventually obstruct the fluid flow and lead to clogging, which seriously affects the accuracy and reliability of nozzle-based printing and causes damage to the nozzle. Particle accumulation in a 100 μm microchannel was investigated by light microscopy, and its area growth in an exponential format was used to quantify this phenomenon. The effects of the constriction angle and alginate concentration on particle accumulation were also studied. In order to reduce the clogging problem, an acoustic method was proposed and evaluated here. Numerical simulation was first conducted to predict the acoustic radiation force on the particles in the fluid with different viscosities. Interdigital transducers (IDTs) were fabricated on the LiNbO3 wafer to produce standing surface acoustic waves (SSAW) in the microchannel. It was found that the actuation of SSAW can reduce the accumulation area in the microchannel by 2 to 3.7-fold. In summary, the particle accumulation becomes significant with the increase of the constriction angle and fluid viscosity. The SSAW can effectively reduce the particle accumulation and postpone clogging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Air-Coupled Low Frequency Ultrasonic Transducers and Arrays with PMN-32%PT Piezoelectric Crystals
Sensors 2017, 17(1), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17010095 - 06 Jan 2017
Cited by 9
Abstract
Air-coupled ultrasonic techniques are being increasingly used for material characterization, non-destructive evaluation of composite materials using guided waves as well as for distance measurements. Application of those techniques is mainly limited by the big losses of ultrasonic signals due to attenuation and mismatch [...] Read more.
Air-coupled ultrasonic techniques are being increasingly used for material characterization, non-destructive evaluation of composite materials using guided waves as well as for distance measurements. Application of those techniques is mainly limited by the big losses of ultrasonic signals due to attenuation and mismatch of the acoustic impedances of ultrasonic transducers and air. One of the ways to solve this problem is by application of novel more efficient piezoelectric materials like lead magnesium niobate-lead titanate (PMN-PT) type crystals. The objective of this research was the development and investigation of low frequency (<50 kHz) wide band air-coupled ultrasonic transducers and arrays with an improved performance using PMN-32%PT crystals. Results of finite element modelling and experimental investigations of the developed transducers and arrays are presented. For improvement of the performance strip-like matching elements made of low acoustic impedance, materials such as polystyrene foams were applied. It allowed to achieve transduction losses for one single element transducer −11.4 dB, what is better than of commercially available air-coupled ultrasonic transducers. Theoretical and experimental investigations of the acoustic fields radiated by the eight element ultrasonic array demonstrated not only a good performance of the array in a pulse mode, but also very good possibilities to electronically focus and steer the ultrasonic beam in space. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
A Canopy Density Model for Planar Orchard Target Detection Based on Ultrasonic Sensors
Sensors 2017, 17(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17010031 - 24 Dec 2016
Cited by 11
Abstract
Orchard target-oriented variable rate spraying is an effective method to reduce pesticide drift and excessive residues. To accomplish this task, the orchard targets’ characteristic information is needed to control liquid flow rate and airflow rate. One of the most important characteristics is the [...] Read more.
Orchard target-oriented variable rate spraying is an effective method to reduce pesticide drift and excessive residues. To accomplish this task, the orchard targets’ characteristic information is needed to control liquid flow rate and airflow rate. One of the most important characteristics is the canopy density. In order to establish the canopy density model for a planar orchard target which is indispensable for canopy density calculation, a target density detection testing system was developed based on an ultrasonic sensor. A time-domain energy analysis method was employed to analyze the ultrasonic signal. Orthogonal regression central composite experiments were designed and conducted using man-made canopies of known density with three or four layers of leaves. Two model equations were obtained, of which the model for the canopies with four layers was found to be the most reliable. A verification test was conducted with different layers at the same density values and detecting distances. The test results showed that the relative errors of model density values and actual values of five, four, three and two layers of leaves were acceptable, while the maximum relative errors were 17.68%, 25.64%, 21.33% and 29.92%, respectively. It also suggested the model equation with four layers had a good applicability with different layers which increased with adjacent layers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Selection of Shear Horizontal Wave Transducers for Robotic Nondestructive Inspection in Harsh Environments
Sensors 2017, 17(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17010005 - 22 Dec 2016
Cited by 14
Abstract
Harsh environments and confined spaces require that nondestructive inspections be conducted with robotic systems. Ultrasonic guided waves are well suited for robotic systems because they can provide efficient volumetric coverage when inspecting for various types of damage, including cracks and corrosion. Shear horizontal [...] Read more.
Harsh environments and confined spaces require that nondestructive inspections be conducted with robotic systems. Ultrasonic guided waves are well suited for robotic systems because they can provide efficient volumetric coverage when inspecting for various types of damage, including cracks and corrosion. Shear horizontal guided waves are especially well suited for robotic inspection because they are sensitive to cracks oriented perpendicular or parallel to the wave propagation direction and can be generated with electromagnetic acoustic transducers (EMATs) and magnetostrictive transducers (MSTs). Both types of transducers are investigated for crack detection in a stainless steel plate. The MSTs require the robot to apply a compressive normal force that creates frictional force coupling. However, the coupling is observed to be very dependent upon surface roughness and surface debris. The EMATs are coupled through the Lorentz force and are thus noncontact, although they depend on the lift off between transducer and substrate. After comparing advantages and disadvantages of each transducer for robotic inspection the EMATs are selected for application to canisters that store used nuclear fuel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Omni-Directional Scanning Localization Method of a Mobile Robot Based on Ultrasonic Sensors
Sensors 2016, 16(12), 2189; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16122189 - 20 Dec 2016
Cited by 8
Abstract
Improved ranging accuracy is obtained by the development of a novel ultrasonic sensor ranging algorithm, unlike the conventional ranging algorithm, which considers the divergence angle and the incidence angle of the ultrasonic sensor synchronously. An ultrasonic sensor scanning method is developed based on [...] Read more.
Improved ranging accuracy is obtained by the development of a novel ultrasonic sensor ranging algorithm, unlike the conventional ranging algorithm, which considers the divergence angle and the incidence angle of the ultrasonic sensor synchronously. An ultrasonic sensor scanning method is developed based on this algorithm for the recognition of an inclined plate and to obtain the localization of the ultrasonic sensor relative to the inclined plate reference frame. The ultrasonic sensor scanning method is then leveraged for the omni-directional localization of a mobile robot, where the ultrasonic sensors are installed on a mobile robot and follow the spin of the robot, the inclined plate is recognized and the position and posture of the robot are acquired with respect to the coordinate system of the inclined plate, realizing the localization of the robot. Finally, the localization method is implemented into an omni-directional scanning localization experiment with the independently researched and developed mobile robot. Localization accuracies of up to ±3.33 mm for the front, up to ±6.21 for the lateral and up to ±0.20° for the posture are obtained, verifying the correctness and effectiveness of the proposed localization method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel Fisheye-Lens-Based Photoacoustic System
Sensors 2016, 16(12), 2185; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16122185 - 19 Dec 2016
Cited by 12
Abstract
This paper presents a novel fisheye-lens-based photoacoustic (PA) system. In conventional PA systems, mechanical motors are utilized to obtain the target information due to the small fields of view of such systems. The use of such motors introduces mechanical noise, which is difficult [...] Read more.
This paper presents a novel fisheye-lens-based photoacoustic (PA) system. In conventional PA systems, mechanical motors are utilized to obtain the target information due to the small fields of view of such systems. The use of such motors introduces mechanical noise, which is difficult to remove when processing the echo signals. A fisheye lens system offering a wide field of view would effectively reduce the motor effects (i.e., the noise) and enable the system to have a wide field of view. Therefore, in this work, we propose a novel fisheye lens scheme and describe a PA system based on the developed lens scheme. In addition, to confirm the feasibility of the fisheye-lens-based PA system, we present the typical pulse-echo responses obtained using a 20 MHz single element immersion transducer and the echo signals measured from bull’s eye tissue samples separated by approximately 4, 6, 8, and 10 cm diagonally and 2 cm vertically from the fisheye lens. The experimental results demonstrate that the echo signal amplitudes, their center frequencies, and the −6 dB bandwidths obtained using red, green, and blue lights and a fisheye lens are acceptable when the fisheye lens is separated from a sample both diagonally and vertically. Therefore, fisheye-lens-based PA systems could be a potential method of achieving wide fields of view while reducing the mechanical motor effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
A Mathematical Model of a Novel 3D Fractal-Inspired Piezoelectric Ultrasonic Transducer
Sensors 2016, 16(12), 2170; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16122170 - 17 Dec 2016
Cited by 3
Abstract
Piezoelectric ultrasonic transducers have the potential to operate as both a sensor and as an actuator of ultrasonic waves. Currently, manufactured transducers operate effectively over narrow bandwidths as a result of their regular structures which incorporate a single length scale. To increase the [...] Read more.
Piezoelectric ultrasonic transducers have the potential to operate as both a sensor and as an actuator of ultrasonic waves. Currently, manufactured transducers operate effectively over narrow bandwidths as a result of their regular structures which incorporate a single length scale. To increase the operational bandwidth of these devices, consideration has been given in the literature to the implementation of designs which contain a range of length scales. In this paper, a mathematical model of a novel Sierpinski tetrix fractal-inspired transducer for sensor applications is presented. To accompany the growing body of research based on fractal-inspired transducers, this paper offers the first sensor design based on a three-dimensional fractal. The three-dimensional model reduces to an effective one-dimensional model by allowing for a number of assumptions of the propagating wave in the fractal lattice. The reception sensitivity of the sensor is investigated. Comparisons of reception force response (RFR) are performed between this novel design along with a previously investigated Sierpinski gasket-inspired device and standard Euclidean design. The results indicate that the proposed device surpasses traditional design sensors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessCommunication
Airborne Transducer Integrity under Operational Environment for Structural Health Monitoring
Sensors 2016, 16(12), 2110; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16122110 - 12 Dec 2016
Cited by 18
Abstract
This paper investigates the robustness of permanently mounted transducers used in airborne structural health monitoring systems, when exposed to the operational environment. Typical airliners operate in a range of conditions, hence, structural health monitoring (SHM) transducer robustness and integrity must be demonstrated for [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the robustness of permanently mounted transducers used in airborne structural health monitoring systems, when exposed to the operational environment. Typical airliners operate in a range of conditions, hence, structural health monitoring (SHM) transducer robustness and integrity must be demonstrated for these environments. A set of extreme temperature, altitude and vibration environment test profiles are developed using the existing Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA)/DO-160 test methods. Commercially available transducers and manufactured versions bonded to carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) composite materials are tested. It was found that the DuraAct transducer is robust to environmental conditions tested, while the other transducer types degrade under the same conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
A Fast Method to Calculate the Spatial Impulse Response for 1-D Linear Ultrasonic Phased Array Transducers
Sensors 2016, 16(11), 1873; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16111873 - 08 Nov 2016
Cited by 5
Abstract
A method is developed to accurately determine the spatial impulse response at the specifically discretized observation points in the radiated field of 1-D linear ultrasonic phased array transducers with great efficiency. In contrast, the previously adopted solutions only optimize the calculation procedure for [...] Read more.
A method is developed to accurately determine the spatial impulse response at the specifically discretized observation points in the radiated field of 1-D linear ultrasonic phased array transducers with great efficiency. In contrast, the previously adopted solutions only optimize the calculation procedure for a single rectangular transducer and required approximation considerations or nonlinear calculation. In this research, an algorithm that follows an alternative approach to expedite the calculation of the spatial impulse response of a rectangular linear array is presented. The key assumption for this algorithm is that the transducer apertures are identical and linearly distributed on an infinite rigid plane baffled with the same pitch. Two points in the observation field, which have the same position relative to two transducer apertures, share the same spatial impulse response that contributed from corresponding transducer, respectively. The observation field is discretized specifically to meet the relationship of equality. The analytical expressions of the proposed algorithm, based on the specific selection of the observation points, are derived to remove redundant calculations. In order to measure the proposed methodology, the simulation results obtained from the proposed method and the classical summation method are compared. The outcomes demonstrate that the proposed strategy can speed up the calculation procedure since it accelerates the speed-up ratio which relies upon the number of discrete points and the number of the array transducers. This development will be valuable in the development of advanced and faster linear ultrasonic phased array systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Sparse Reconstruction for Micro Defect Detection in Acoustic Micro Imaging
Sensors 2016, 16(10), 1773; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16101773 - 24 Oct 2016
Cited by 6
Abstract
Acoustic micro imaging has been proven to be sufficiently sensitive for micro defect detection. In this study, we propose a sparse reconstruction method for acoustic micro imaging. A finite element model with a micro defect is developed to emulate the physical scanning. Then [...] Read more.
Acoustic micro imaging has been proven to be sufficiently sensitive for micro defect detection. In this study, we propose a sparse reconstruction method for acoustic micro imaging. A finite element model with a micro defect is developed to emulate the physical scanning. Then we obtain the point spread function, a blur kernel for sparse reconstruction. We reconstruct deblurred images from the oversampled C-scan images based on l1-norm regularization, which can enhance the signal-to-noise ratio and improve the accuracy of micro defect detection. The method is further verified by experimental data. The results demonstrate that the sparse reconstruction is effective for micro defect detection in acoustic micro imaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Mode Conversion Behavior of Guided Wave in a Pipe Inspection System Based on a Long Waveguide
Sensors 2016, 16(10), 1737; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16101737 - 19 Oct 2016
Cited by 8
Abstract
To make clear the mode conversion behavior of S0-mode lamb wave and SH0-plate wave converting to the longitudinal mode guided wave and torsional mode guided wave in a pipe, respectively, the experiments were performed based on a previous built pipe inspection system. The [...] Read more.
To make clear the mode conversion behavior of S0-mode lamb wave and SH0-plate wave converting to the longitudinal mode guided wave and torsional mode guided wave in a pipe, respectively, the experiments were performed based on a previous built pipe inspection system. The pipe was wound with an L-shaped plate or a T-shaped plate as the waveguide, and the S0-wave and SH0-wave were excited separately in the waveguide. To carry out the objective, a meander-line coil electromagnetic acoustic transducer (EMAT) for S0-wave and a periodic permanent magnet (PPM) EMAT for SH0-wave were developed and optimized. Then, several comparison experiments were conducted to compare the efficiency of mode conversion. Experimental results showed that the T(0,1) mode, L(0,1) mode, and L(0,2) mode guided waves can be successfully detected when converted from the S0-wave or SH0-wave with different shaped waveguides. It can also be inferred that the S0-wave has a better ability to convert to the T(0,1) mode, while the SH0-wave is easier to convert to the L(0,1) mode and L(0,2) mode, and the L-shaped waveguide has a better efficiency than T-shaped waveguide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Design and Implementation of an Electronic Front-End Based on Square Wave Excitation for Ultrasonic Torsional Guided Wave Viscosity Sensor
Sensors 2016, 16(10), 1681; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16101681 - 12 Oct 2016
Cited by 3
Abstract
The market for process instruments generally requires low cost devices that are robust, small in size, portable, and usable in-plant. Ultrasonic torsional guided wave sensors have received much attention by researchers for measurement of viscosity and/or density of fluids in recent years. The [...] Read more.
The market for process instruments generally requires low cost devices that are robust, small in size, portable, and usable in-plant. Ultrasonic torsional guided wave sensors have received much attention by researchers for measurement of viscosity and/or density of fluids in recent years. The supporting electronic systems for these sensors providing many different settings of sine-wave signals are bulky and expensive. In contrast, a system based on bursts of square waves instead of sine waves would have a considerable advantage in that respect and could be built using simple integrated circuits at a cost that is orders of magnitude lower than for a windowed sine wave device. This paper explores the possibility of using square wave bursts as the driving signal source for the ultrasonic torsional guided wave viscosity sensor. A simple design of a compact and fully automatic analogue square wave front-end for the sensor is also proposed. The successful operation of the system is demonstrated by using the sensor for measuring the viscosity in a representative fluid. This work provides the basis for design and manufacture of low cost compact standalone ultrasonic guided wave sensors and enlightens the possibility of using coded excitation techniques utilising square wave sequences in such applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel 3D Multilateration Sensor Using Distributed Ultrasonic Beacons for Indoor Navigation
Sensors 2016, 16(10), 1637; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16101637 - 08 Oct 2016
Cited by 15
Abstract
Navigation and guidance systems are a critical part of any autonomous vehicle. In this paper, a novel sensor grid using 40 KHz ultrasonic transmitters is presented for adoption in indoor 3D positioning applications. In the proposed technique, a vehicle measures the arrival time [...] Read more.
Navigation and guidance systems are a critical part of any autonomous vehicle. In this paper, a novel sensor grid using 40 KHz ultrasonic transmitters is presented for adoption in indoor 3D positioning applications. In the proposed technique, a vehicle measures the arrival time of incoming ultrasonic signals and calculates the position without broadcasting to the grid. This system allows for conducting silent or covert operations and can also be used for the simultaneous navigation of a large number of vehicles. The transmitters and receivers employed are first described. Transmission lobe patterns and receiver directionality determine the geometry of transmitter clusters. Range and accuracy of measurements dictate the number of sensors required to navigate in a given volume. Laboratory experiments were performed in which a small array of transmitters was set up and the sensor system was tested for position accuracy. The prototype system is shown to have a 1-sigma position error of about 16 cm, with errors between 7 and 11 cm in the local horizontal coordinates. This research work provides foundations for the future development of ultrasonic navigation sensors for a variety of autonomous vehicle applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Amplitude Dispersion Compensation for Damage Detection Using Ultrasonic Guided Waves
Sensors 2016, 16(10), 1623; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16101623 - 30 Sep 2016
Cited by 8
Abstract
Besides the phase and group velocities, the amplitude of guided wave mode is also frequency dependent. This amplitude dispersion also influences the performance of guided wave methods in nondestructive evaluation (NDE) and structural health monitoring (SHM). In this paper, the effects of amplitude [...] Read more.
Besides the phase and group velocities, the amplitude of guided wave mode is also frequency dependent. This amplitude dispersion also influences the performance of guided wave methods in nondestructive evaluation (NDE) and structural health monitoring (SHM). In this paper, the effects of amplitude dispersion to the spectrum and waveform of a propagating wave-packet are investigated. It is shown that the amplitude dispersion results in distortion in the spectrum of guided wave response, and thus influences the waveform of the wave-packet. To remove these effects, an amplitude dispersion compensation method is established on the basis of Vold–Kalman filter and Taylor series expansion. The performance of that method is then investigated by experimental examples. The results show that with the application of the amplitude dispersion compensation, the time reversibility could be preserved, which ensures the applicability of the time reversal method for damage detection. Besides, through amplitude dispersion compensation, the testing resolution of guided waves could be improved, so that the structural features located in the close proximity may be separately identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Evaluation of Three Designs of Electrodynamic Flexural Transducers
Sensors 2016, 16(9), 1363; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16091363 - 25 Aug 2016
Cited by 6
Abstract
Three designs for electrodynamic flexural transducers (EDFT) for air-coupled ultrasonics are presented and compared. An all-metal housing was used for robustness, which makes the designs more suitable for industrial applications. The housing is designed such that there is a thin metal plate at [...] Read more.
Three designs for electrodynamic flexural transducers (EDFT) for air-coupled ultrasonics are presented and compared. An all-metal housing was used for robustness, which makes the designs more suitable for industrial applications. The housing is designed such that there is a thin metal plate at the front, with a fundamental flexural vibration mode at ∼50 kHz. By using a flexural resonance mode, good coupling to the load medium was achieved without the use of matching layers. The front radiating plate is actuated electrodynamically by a spiral coil inside the transducer, which produces an induced magnetic field when an AC current is applied to it. The transducers operate without the use of piezoelectric materials, which can simplify manufacturing and prolong the lifetime of the transducers, as well as open up possibilities for high-temperature applications. The results show that different designs perform best for the generation and reception of ultrasound. All three designs produced large acoustic pressure outputs, with a recorded sound pressure level (SPL) above 120 dB at a 40 cm distance from the highest output transducer. The sensitivity of the transducers was low, however, with single shot signal-to-noise ratio ( SNR ) 15 dB in transmit–receive mode, with transmitter and receiver 40 cm apart. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Monitoring of Grouting Compactness in a Post-Tensioning Tendon Duct Using Piezoceramic Transducers
Sensors 2016, 16(8), 1343; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16081343 - 22 Aug 2016
Cited by 55
Abstract
A post-tensioning tendon duct filled with grout can effectively prevent corrosion of the reinforcement, maintain bonding behavior between the reinforcement and concrete, and enhance the load bearing capacity of concrete structures. In practice, grouting of the post-tensioning tendon ducts always causes quality problems, [...] Read more.
A post-tensioning tendon duct filled with grout can effectively prevent corrosion of the reinforcement, maintain bonding behavior between the reinforcement and concrete, and enhance the load bearing capacity of concrete structures. In practice, grouting of the post-tensioning tendon ducts always causes quality problems, which may reduce structural integrity and service life, and even cause accidents. However, monitoring of the grouting compactness is still a challenge due to the invisibility of the grout in the duct during the grouting process. This paper presents a stress wave-based active sensing approach using piezoceramic transducers to monitor the grouting compactness in real time. A segment of a commercial tendon duct was used as research object in this study. One lead zirconate titanate (PZT) piezoceramic transducer with marble protection, called a smart aggregate (SA), was bonded on the tendon and installed in the tendon duct. Two PZT patch sensors were mounted on the top outside surface of the duct, and one PZT patch sensor was bonded on the bottom outside surface of the tendon duct. In the active sensing approach, the SA was used as an actuator to generate a stress wave and the PZT sensors were utilized to detect the wave response. Cement or grout in the duct functions as a wave conduit, which can propagate the stress wave. If the cement or grout is not fully filled in the tendon duct, the top PZT sensors cannot receive much stress wave energy. The experimental procedures simulated four stages during the grout pouring process, which includes empty status, half grouting, 90% grouting, and full grouting of the duct. Experimental results show that the bottom PZT sensor can detect the signal when the grout level increases towards 50%, when a conduit between the SA and PZT sensor is formed. The top PZT sensors cannot receive any signal until the grout process is completely finished. The wavelet packet-based energy analysis was adopted in this research to compute the total signal energy received by PZT sensors. Experimental results show that the energy levels of the PZT sensors can reflect the degree of grouting compactness in the duct. The proposed method has the potential to be implemented to monitor the tendon duct grouting compactness of the reinforced concrete structures with post tensioning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Baseline Signal Reconstruction for Temperature Compensation in Lamb Wave-Based Damage Detection
Sensors 2016, 16(8), 1273; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16081273 - 11 Aug 2016
Cited by 11
Abstract
Temperature variations have significant effects on propagation of Lamb wave and therefore can severely limit the damage detection for Lamb wave. In order to mitigate the temperature effect, a temperature compensation method based on baseline signal reconstruction is developed for Lamb wave-based damage [...] Read more.
Temperature variations have significant effects on propagation of Lamb wave and therefore can severely limit the damage detection for Lamb wave. In order to mitigate the temperature effect, a temperature compensation method based on baseline signal reconstruction is developed for Lamb wave-based damage detection. The method is a reconstruction of a baseline signal at the temperature of current signal. In other words, it compensates the baseline signal to the temperature of current signal. The Hilbert transform is used to compensate the phase of baseline signal. The Orthogonal matching pursuit (OMP) is used to compensate the amplitude of baseline signal. Experiments were conducted on two composite panels to validate the effectiveness of the proposed method. Results show that the proposed method could effectively work for temperature intervals of at least 18 °C with the baseline signal temperature as the center, and can be applied to the actual damage detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Design and Fabrication of Double-Focused Ultrasound Transducers to Achieve Tight Focusing
Sensors 2016, 16(8), 1248; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16081248 - 06 Aug 2016
Cited by 16
Abstract
Beauty treatment for skin requires a high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) transducer to generate coagulative necrosis in a small focal volume (e.g., 1 mm3) placed at a shallow depth (3–4.5 mm from the skin surface). For this, it is desirable to make [...] Read more.
Beauty treatment for skin requires a high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) transducer to generate coagulative necrosis in a small focal volume (e.g., 1 mm3) placed at a shallow depth (3–4.5 mm from the skin surface). For this, it is desirable to make the F-number as small as possible under the largest possible aperture in order to generate ultrasound energy high enough to induce tissue coagulation in such a small focal volume. However, satisfying both conditions at the same time is demanding. To meet the requirements, this paper, therefore, proposes a double-focusing technique, in which the aperture of an ultrasound transducer is spherically shaped for initial focusing and an acoustic lens is used to finally focus ultrasound on a target depth of treatment; it is possible to achieve the F-number of unity or less while keeping the aperture of a transducer as large as possible. In accordance with the proposed method, we designed and fabricated a 7-MHz double-focused ultrasound transducer. The experimental results demonstrated that the fabricated double-focused transducer had a focal length of 10.2 mm reduced from an initial focal length of 15.2 mm and, thus, the F-number changed from 1.52 to 1.02. Based on the results, we concluded that the proposed double-focusing method is suitable to decrease F-number while maintaining a large aperture size. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
A Non-Intrusive Pressure Sensor by Detecting Multiple Longitudinal Waves
Sensors 2016, 16(8), 1237; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16081237 - 05 Aug 2016
Cited by 4
Abstract
Pressure vessels are widely used in industrial fields, and some of them are safety-critical components in the system—for example, those which contain flammable or explosive material. Therefore, the pressure of these vessels becomes one of the critical measurements for operational management. In the [...] Read more.
Pressure vessels are widely used in industrial fields, and some of them are safety-critical components in the system—for example, those which contain flammable or explosive material. Therefore, the pressure of these vessels becomes one of the critical measurements for operational management. In the paper, we introduce a new approach to the design of non-intrusive pressure sensors, based on ultrasonic waves. The model of this sensor is built based upon the travel-time change of the critically refracted longitudinal wave (LCR wave) and the reflected longitudinal waves with the pressure. To evaluate the model, experiments are carried out to compare the proposed model with other existing models. The results show that the proposed model can improve the accuracy compared to models based on a single wave. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Eigenspace-Based Generalized Sidelobe Canceler Beamforming Applied to Medical Ultrasound Imaging
Sensors 2016, 16(8), 1192; https://doi.org/10.3390/s16081192 - 28 Jul 2016
Cited by 11
Abstract
The use of a generalized sidelobe canceler (GSC) can significantly improve the lateral resolution of medical ultrasound systems, but the contrast improvement isn’t satisfactory. Thus a new Eigenspace-based generalized sidelobe canceler (EBGSC) approach is proposed for medical ultrasound imaging, which can improve both [...] Read more.
The use of a generalized sidelobe canceler (GSC) can significantly improve the lateral resolution of medical ultrasound systems, but the contrast improvement isn’t satisfactory. Thus a new Eigenspace-based generalized sidelobe canceler (EBGSC) approach is proposed for medical ultrasound imaging, which can improve both the lateral resolution and contrast of the system. The weight vector of the EBGSC is obtained by projecting the GSC weight vector onto a vector subspace constructed from the eigenstructure of the covariance matrix, and using the new weight vector instead of the GSC ones leads to reduced sidelobe level and improved contrast. Simulated and experimental data are used to evaluate the performance of the proposed method. The Field II software is applied to obtain the simulated echo data of scattering points and circular cysts. Imaging of scattering points show that EBGSC has the same full width at half maximum (FWHM) as GSC, while the lateral resolution improves by 35.3% and 52.7% compared with synthetic aperture (SA) and delay-and-sum (DS), respectively. Compared with GSC, SA and DS, EBGSC improves the peak sidelobe level (PSL) by 23.55, 33.11 and 50.38 dB, respectively. Also the cyst contrast increase by EBGSC was calculated as 16.77, 12.43 and 26.73 dB, when compared with GSC, SA and DS, respectively. Finally, an experiment is conducted on the basis of the complete echo data collected by a medical ultrasonic imaging system. Results show that the proposed method can produce better lateral resolution and contrast than non-adaptive beamformers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasonic Sensors)
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