Application of gel-casting to the fabrication of 1-3 piezoelectric ceramic-polymer composites for high-frequency ultrasound devices


A modified gel-casting technique was used to fabricate a 1-3 piezoelectric ceramic/polymer composite substrate formed by irregular-shaped pillar arrays of small dimensions and kerfs. This technique involves the polymerization of aqueous piezoelectric (PZT) suspensions with added water-soluble epoxy resin and polyamine-based hardener that lead to high strength, high density and resilient ceramic bodies. Soft micromoulding was used to shape the ceramic segments, and micropillars with lateral features down to 4 mu m and height-to-width aspect ratios of similar to 10 were achieved. The composite exhibited a clear thickness resonance mode at approximately 70 MHz and a k(eff) similar to 0.51, demonstrating that the ceramic micropillars possess good electrical properties. Furthermore, gel-casting allows the fabrication of ceramic structures with non-conventional shapes; hence, device design is not limited by the standard fabrication methods. This is of particular benefit for high-frequency transducers where the critical design dimensions are reduced.



subject category

Engineering; Science & Technology - Other Topics; Instruments & Instrumentation; Physics


Garcia-Gancedo, L; Olhero, SM; Alves, FJ; Ferreira, JMF; Demore, CEM; Cochran, S; Button, TW

our authors


The work reported here was supported by the EPSRC; grant number EP/D055881/1. S M Olhero wishes to thank to Foundation for Science and Technology of Portugal for the financial support under the grant SFRH/BPD/27013/2006. The authors would also like to thank CICECO for the work at the University of Aveiro and FCT for the financial support under the project PTDC/CTM/099489/2008. The authors also acknowledge Carl Meggs (University of Birmingham) for construction of the corona poling apparatus and general technical advice and assistance.

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