Phospholipid-coated ultrasound contrast agents may deflate or even collapse because of stress resulting from ultrasound-induced oscillations. In this work, we investigate the behavior of isolated contrast agent microbubbles during prolonged ultrasound excitation. Isolated microbubbles placed in a thin capillary tube were excited with hundreds of ultrasound pulses at a low mechanical index, and their oscillations were recorded using the Brandaris-128 ultra-high-speed camera. Results show that microbubbles undergo an irreversible, non-destructive deflation process. Such deflation seems to occur in discrete steps rather than as a continuous process; furthermore, the dynamics of the bubble change during deflation: radial oscillations, both symmetric and asymmetric around the resting radius of the bubble, occur at various stages of the deflation process. Strongly asymmetric oscillations, such as compression-only and expansion-only behavior, were also observed: notably, expansion-only behavior is associated with a rapid size reduction, whereas compression-only behavior mostly occurs without a noticeable change of the bubble radius. We hypothesize that bubble deflation results from at least two distinct phenomena, namely diffusive gas loss and lipid material shedding from the encapsulating shell.
|IEEE transactions on ultrasonics, ferroelectrics and frequency control
|Published - 2012