A novel torsional wave sensor designed to characterize mechanical properties of soft tissues is presented in this work. Elastography is a widely used technique since the 1990s to map tissue stiffness. Moreover, quantitative elastography uses the velocity of shear waves to achieve the shear stiffness. This technique exhibits significant limitations caused by the difficulty of the separation between longitudinal and shear waves and the pressure applied while measuring. To overcome these drawbacks, the proposed torsional wave sensor can isolate a pure shear wave, avoiding the possibility of multiple wave interference. It comprises a rotational actuator disk and a piezoceramic receiver ring circumferentially aligned. Both allow the transmission of shear waves that interact with the tissue before being received. Experimental tests are performed using tissue mimicking phantoms and cervical tissues. One contribution is a sensor sensitivity study that has been conducted to evaluate the robustness of the new proposed torsional wave elastography (TWE) technique. The variables object of the study are both the applied pressure and the angle of incidence sensor-phantom. The other contribution consists of a cervical tissue characterization. To this end, three rheological models have fit the experimental data and a static independent testing method has been performed. The proposed methodology permits the reconstruction of the mechanical constants from the propagated shear wave, providing a proof of principle and warranting further studies to confirm the validity of the results.
Keywords: cervical tissue; complex shear modulus; rheological model; rheometry experiment; sensitivity study; tissue mimicking phantom; torsional wave sensor.