A joint work with colleagues from the University of Bologna on frequency steerable acoustic transducers (FSATs) has been accepted for publication in IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control.
A novel directional transducer based on Guided Waves (GW) is introduced in this paper, designed for use in structural health monitoring (SHM) and acoustic data communication applications, i.e., systems in which the elastic medium serves as a transmission channel and information is conveyed through the medium via elastic waves. Such systems can overcome difficulties associated with traditional communication methods like wire-based or radio frequency (RF), which can be complex and have limitations in harsh environments or hard-to-reach places. However, the development of these techniques is hampered by GW dispersive and multi-modal propagation and by multi-path interference. The shortcomings can be effectively addressed by employing Frequency Steerable Acoustic Transducers (FSATs), which leverage their inherent directional capabilities. This can be achieved through the exploitation of a frequency-dependent spatial filtering effect, yielding to a direct correlation between the frequency content of the transmitted or received signals and the direction of propagation. The proposed transducer is designed to actuate or sense the A0 Lamb wave propagating in three orientations using varying frequencies, and has three channels with distinct frequencies for each direction, ranging from 50 kHz to 450 kHz. The transducer performance was verified through Finite Element (FE) simulations, accompanied by experimental testing using a Scanning Laser Doppler Vibrometer (SLDV). The unique frequency-steering capability of FSATs is combined with the On-Off Keying (OOK) modulation scheme to achieve frequency directivity in hardware, similar to ongoing research in 5G communications. The MIMO capabilities of the transducer were finally tested over a thin aluminum plate, showing excellent agreement with the FE simulation results.
Mohammadgholiha, M.; Zonzini, F.; Moll, J. & De Marchi, L., Directional Multi-Frequency Guided Waves Communications Using Discrete Frequency-Steerable Acoustic Transducers, IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, 2023 (accepted in August 2023)