Design, performance and modeling of piezoceramic hollow-sphere microprobe hydrophones

Sedat Alkoy, Richard Joseph Meyer, Jr., W. Jack Hughes, Joe K. Cochran, Robert E. Newnham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This paper describes the design and performance of a small, high-frequency, piezoelectric, underwater probe. The probes are fabricated from miniature, thin-wall, lead zirconate titanate ceramic hollow spheres with radii (r) from 0.5 mm to 2.5 mm and wall thickness (t) from 50 νm to 250 νm. The experimental results reported in this paper are focused on devices prepared from hollow spheres with an outer radius of 1.38 mm and a mean wall thickness of 75 νm. As a hydrophone, these devices display a sensitivity of -220.7 dB re 1 V νPa-1 at 250 kHz that stays flat to within 3 dB over the frequency range from 10 kHz to 450 kHz with an omnidirectional response. Within the accessible range of sphere sizes (r = 0.5-2.5 mm, t = 50-250 νm), this stable and flat sensitivity behavior could be extended to a range from -212 to -225 dB re 1 V νPa-1 and up to 1 MHz. Finite element analysis of this transducer using the ATILA software is also included in this paper, comparing the computational results with the results from the experimental measurements. Based on the excellent agreement obtained, a parametric modeling study was also undertaken and its results are discussed in this paper. The miniature ceramic hollow-sphere transducers fill a gap in the frequency range of 200 kHz to 1 MHz with an omnidirectional response and much higher sensitivity than other ceramic and polymer piezoelectric probes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number095204
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation
  • Applied Mathematics


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