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An improved composite ultrasonic transducer, and elements therefor, which may be made autoclavable, and a method of making these elements. A number of planar precursors comprising strips of piezoelectric ceramic material separated from one another by a polymer material are stacked one above another with the ceramic strips aligned with one another, and with electrical conductors disposed between each of the planar precursors. These precursors are then bonded to one another, to form a bonded assembly. The bonded assembly is then slit along parallel lines perpendicular to the direction of elongation of the ceramic strips, subdividing the strips into individual ceramic members and also subdividing the planar conductors, forming ribbon-like conductors extending between opposite sides of the array. The saw kerfs are filled with a hardening polymer material. The ribbon-like conductors reaching the edges of the assembly are then connected electrically in parallel, reducing the capacitance of the individual emitters. Criteria for selection of the materials of the ceramic members, the conductors, and other components of the transducer, and their relative proportions are given which allow the transducer to be steamautoclavable.
27 Claims, 5 Drawing Sheets
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