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28 June 2002 MEMS ultrasonic transducer for monitoring of steel structures
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Ultrasonic methods can be used to monitor crack propagation, weld failure, or section loss at critical locations in steel structures. However, ultrasonic inspection requires a skilled technician, and most commonly the signal obtained at any inspection is not preserved for later use. A preferred technology would use a MEMS device permanently installed at a critical location, polled remotely, and capable of on-chip signal processing using a signal history. We review questions related to wave geometry, signal levels, flaw localization, and electromechanical design issues for microscale transducers, and then describe the design, characterization, and initial testing of a MEMS transducer to function as a detector array. The device is approximately 1-cm square and was fabricated by the MUMPS process. The chip has 23 sensor elements to function in a phased array geometry, each element containing 180 hexagonal polysilicon diaphragms with a typical leg length of 49 microns and an unloaded natural frequency near 3.5 MHz. We first report characterization studies including capacitance-voltage measurements and admittance measurements, and then report initial experiments using a conventional piezoelectric transducer for excitation, with successful detection of signals in an on-axis transmission experiment and successful source localization from phased array performance in an off-axis transmission experiment.
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Akash Jain, David W. Greve, and Irving J. Oppenheim "MEMS ultrasonic transducer for monitoring of steel structures", Proc. SPIE 4696, Smart Structures and Materials 2002: Smart Systems for Bridges, Structures, and Highways, (28 June 2002);

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