Inexpensive acoustoelectric hydrophone for measuring high intensity ultrasound fields

Russell S. Witte, Tim Hall, Ragnar Olafsson, S. W. Huang, Matthew O'Donnell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


We describe an inexpensive alternative to conventional hydrophones used to map an ultrasonic beam pattern. Instead of relying on piezo materials to detect pressure, these hydrophones depend on a bias current flowing through a conductive material. According to the well-described acoustoelectric (AE) effect, as a pressure wave interacts with a current field, a voltage is generated. We exploit this principal to design and test a variety of disposable hydrophones composed of common laboratory supplies. Designs varied primarily by the shape and material of their conductive layer, such as graphite or saline gel. The hydrophone was used to map the beam pattern of a 540-khz annular transducer and compared with a conventional fiber optic hydrophone. The detected AE signal was amplified, high-pass filtered and captured using a fast 12-bit acquisition board. The hydrophone in the form of a bowtie and composed of a thin layer of graphite on a paper substrate accurately reproduced the beam pattern and spectrum of the ultrasound transducer with decent sensitivity less than 50 kPa. The detected AE signal at 2 MPa was proportional to the applied bias current (2.90 μV/mA). The axial and lateral resolutions (5.2 and 4.1 mm, respectively) were both within 200 μm of the values obtained from a less sensitive fiber optic hydrophone. The disposable AE hydrophone may be an attractive alternative for clinical applications that require close monitoring of high intensity acoustic fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2007 IEEE Ultrasonics Symposium Proceedings, IUS
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2007
Event2007 IEEE Ultrasonics Symposium, IUS - New York, NY, United States
Duration: Oct 28 2007Oct 31 2007

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE Ultrasonics Symposium
ISSN (Print)1051-0117


Other2007 IEEE Ultrasonics Symposium, IUS
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York, NY


  • Acoustic calibration
  • Acoustic receivers
  • Acoustoelectric effect
  • High intensity focused ultrasound
  • Hydrophones
  • Ultrasonic beam patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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