Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Shrinivas G. Joshi,

Second Advisor

Schneider, Susan C.

Third Advisor

Richie, James E.


The characteristics of acoustic waves propagating in thin piezoelectric plates in the presence of a fluid medium contacting one or both of the plate surfaces are investigated. If the velocity of plate wave in the substrate is greater than velocity of bulk wave in the fluid, then a plate acoustic wave (PAW) traveling in the substrate will radiate a bulk acoustic wave (BAW) in the fluid. It is found that, under proper conditions, efficient conversion of energy from plate acoustic waves to bulk acoustic waves and vice versa can be obtained. For example, using the fundamental anti symmetric plate wave mode (A0 mode) propagating in a lithium niobate substrate and water as the fluid, total mode conversion loss (PAW to BAW and back from BAW to PAW) of less than 3 dB has been obtained. This mode conversion principle can be used to realize miniature, high efficiency transducers for use in ultrasonic flow meters. Similar type of transducer based on conversion of energy from surface acoustic wave (SAW) to bulk acoustic wave (BAW) has been developed previously. The use of plate waves has several advantages. Since the energy of plate waves is present on both plate surfaces, the inter digital transducer (IDT) can be on the surface opposite from that which is in contact with the fluid. This protects the IDT from possible damage due to the fluid and also simplifies the job of making electrical connections to the IDT. Another advantage is that one has wider choice of substrate materials with plate waves than is the case with SAWs. Preliminary calculations indicate that the mode conversion principle can also be used to generate and detect ultrasonic waves in air. This has potential applications for realizing transducers for use in non -contact ultrasonic's. The design of an ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) chip containing an amplifier and frequency counter for use with ultrasonic transducers is also presented in this thesis.