Focusing Ultrasound with an Acoustic Metamaterial Network

    This material research was stimulated by the opportunity to develop an artificial media with negative refractive index and the application in superlens which allows super-resolution imaging. High-resolution acoustic imaging techniques are the essential tools for nondestructive testing and medical screening.
    However, the spatial resolution of the conventional acoustic imaging methods is restricted by the incident wavelength of ultrasound. This is due to the quickly fading evanescent fields which carry the subwavelength features of objects.
    By focusing the propagating wave and recovering the evanescent field, a flat lens with negative-index can potentially overcome the diffraction limit. We present the first experimental demonstration of focusing ultrasound waves through a flat acoustic metamaterial lens composed of a planar network of subwavelength Helmholtz resonators. We observed a tight focus of half-wavelength in width at 60.5 KHz by imaging a point source. This result is in excellent agreement with the numerical simulation by transmission line model in which we derived the effective mass density and compressibility.
    This metamaterial lens also displays variable focal length at different frequencies. Our experiment shows the promise of designing compact and light-weight ultrasound imaging elements.

Figure 1. left, Schematic showing the experimental setup; right, photo of real sample.

Figure 2. Pseudo colormap of the normalized pressure field distribution at 60.5 KHz. (a) Measured and (b) simulated field map of the acoustic NI metamaterial and (c) Line plot of pressure field cross the focal plane parallel to interface.