Ultrasound-induced encapsulated microbubble phenomena

Michiel Postema, M.A.B. Postema, Annemieke van Wamel, Charles T. Lancée, N. de Jong

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227 Citations (Scopus)


When encapsulated microbubbles are subjected to high-amplitude ultrasound, the following phenomena have been reported: oscillation, translation, coalescence, fragmentation, sonic cracking and jetting. In this paper, we explain these phenomena, based on theories that were validated for relatively big, free (not encapsulated) gas bubbles. These theories are compared with high-speed optical observations of insonified contrast agent microbubbles. Furthermore, the potential clinical applications of the bubble-ultrasound interaction are explored. We conclude that most of the results obtained are consistent with free gas bubble theory. Similar to cavitation theory, the number of fragments after bubble fission is in agreement with the dominant spherical harmonic oscillation mode. Remarkable are our observations of jetting through contrast agent microbubbles. The pressure at the tip of a jet is high enough to penetrate any human cell. Hence, liquid jets may act as remote-controlled microsyringes, delivering a drug to a region-of-interest. Encapsulated microbubbles have (potential) clinical applications in both diagnostics and therapeutics.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)827-840
Number of pages14
JournalUltrasound in medicine and biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Coalescence
  • Fragmentation
  • Encapsulated microbubbles
  • IR-50155
  • Radiation forces
  • Jets
  • METIS-223477
  • Ultrasound contrast agent

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