Photolithographic Method for Producing Acoustic Detectors

Case ID:

This technology is a new method to produce hydrophone and acoustic detectors based on the acoustoelectric effect, rather the piezoelectric effect to create an electrical signal. The manufacturing method uses photolithographic techniques, offering finer control of the design and scale of the device. In order to produce detectors or hydrophones for ultrasound imaging and therapy, it is necessary to manufacture them on a fine scale (sub-millimeter to a few microns) by means of, for example, photolithographic techniques, which permit a much smaller feature size than previous acoustoelectric hydrophones. Techniques include: deposition of thin films by electron-beam deposition or electrolysis; spin-coating with photoresist, water-proofing agents, or other substances; exposure of photo-reactive agents under ultraviolet light through a mask; and etching of surfaces with layer-specific etchants. Previous publications have demonstrated proof-of-concept with relatively crude devices created with artisanal techniques, but none so far have reported actual results from an acoustoelectric hydrophone with this level of resolution, attributable to sub-millimeter feature sizes made in a clean-room environment.


  • Mapping for any type of ultrasound or sound transducer
  • Detection of sound signals of any kind
  • Potential applications non-destructive testing and leak detection industries
  • High frequency ultrasound imaging
  • Applications where piezoelectric devices are not optimal


  • Compared to a piezoelectric device, the invention is relatively inexpensive and robust and requires only a conductive material (rather than piezoelectric ceramic).
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Garrett Edmunds
Licensing Manager, UAHS-TLA
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Russell Witte
Robert Norwood
Charles Ingram
Charles Greenlee
Ragnar Olafsson
Zhaohui Wang