Active damping of ultrasonic receiving sensors through engineered pressure waves

Steve Dixon*, Lei Kang, Andrew Feeney, William E. Somerset

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Transducers for ultrasonic sensing and measurement are often operated with a short burst signal, for example a few cycles at a specific excitation voltage and frequency on the generating transducer. The vibration response of a narrowband transducer in detection is usually dominated by resonant ringing, severely affecting its ability to detect two or more signals arriving at the receiver at similar times. Prior researchers have focused on strategies to damp the ringing of a transducer in transmission, to create a temporally short output pressure wave. However, if the receiving transducer is narrowband, the incident pressure waves can create significant ringing of this receiving transducer, irrespective of how temporally short the incident pressure waves are on the receiving transducer. This can reduce the accuracy of common measurement processes, as signals are temporally long and multiple wave arrivals can be difficult to distinguish from each other. In this research, a method of damping transducers in reception is demonstrated using a flexural ultrasonic transducer (FUT). This narrowband transducer can operate effectively as a transmitter or receiver of ultrasound, and due to its use in automotive applications, is the most common ultrasonic transducer in existence. An existing mathematical analog for the transducers is used to guide the design of an engineered pressure wave to actively damp the receiving FUT. Experimental measurements on transducers show that ultrasonic receiver resonant ringing can be reduced by 80%, without significantly compromising sensitivity and only by using a suitable driving voltage waveform on the generating transducer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13LT01
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2021


  • Active damping
  • Flexural ultrasonic transducers
  • Mathematical analog
  • Narrowband
  • Ultrasound measurement
  • UKRI
  • EP/N025393/1


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