Cavitation threshold of microbubbles in gel tunnels by focused ultrasound.


Elisabetta Sassaroli and Kullervo Hynynen. 2007. “Cavitation threshold of microbubbles in gel tunnels by focused ultrasound.” Ultrasound Med Biol, 33, 10, Pp. 1651-60. Copy at


The investigation of inertial cavitation in micro-tunnels has significant implications for the development of therapeutic applications of ultrasound such as ultrasound-mediated drug and gene delivery. The threshold for inertial cavitation was investigated using a passive cavitation detector with a center frequency of 1 MHz. Micro-tunnels of various diameters (90 to 800 microm) embedded in gel were fabricated and injected with a solution of Optison(trade mark) contrast agent of concentrations 1.2% and 0.2% diluted in water. An ultrasound pulse of duration 500 ms and center frequency 1.736 MHz was used to insonate the microbubbles. The acoustic pressure was increased at 1-s intervals until broadband noise emission was detected. The pressure threshold at which broadband noise emission was observed was found to be dependent on the diameter of the micro-tunnels, with an average increase of 1.2 to 1.5 between the smallest and the largest tunnels, depending on the microbubble concentration. The evaluation of inertial cavitation in gel tunnels rather than tubes provides a novel opportunity to investigate microbubble collapse in a situation that simulates in vivo blood vessels better than tubes with solid walls do.