Engineering Microbubbles for Enhanced Non-linear Response: Modelling and Experimental Studies

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Engineering Science


The non-linear response of gas bubbles to acoustic excitation is an important phenomenon in both the biomedical and engineering sciences. In medical ultrasound imaging, for example, microbubbles are particularly useful as contrast agents on account of their ability to scatter ultrasound non-linearly. Increasing the degree of non-linearity, however, normally requires an increase in the amplitude of excitation and this may also result in violent behaviour such as inertial cavitation and bubble fragmentation; effects which may be highly undesirable, especially in biomedical applications. The aim of the work described in this proposal is to investigate the findings from our recent preliminary study which showed that by depositing nanoparticles on the surface of a microbubble, the non-linear character of its acoustic response can be increased significantly at low excitation amplitudes. We propose to develop a theoretical model to predict this behaviour and to examine the effect upon bubble stability; and to carry out systematic experimental investigations of the influence of nanoparticle size, shape and concentration upon the stability and acoustic response of microbubbles in order to verify the theoretical work. A successful outcome will lead to the development of microbubble agents with improved efficacy and predictability, for both imaging and therapeutic applications, that will offer significant benefits to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, instrumentation manufacturers and ultimately clinicians and patients.


10 25 50

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/G031754/1 01/05/2009 03/10/2011 £406,977
EP/G031754/2 Transfer EP/G031754/1 03/10/2011 02/11/2012 £139,962
Description That it is possible to significantly enhance the stability of microbubbles by coating them with nanoparticles. This can greatly improve their usefulness for medical imaging and therapy.
Exploitation Route We anticipate the finding leading to the development of new micro bubble agents for imaging and drug delivery. This is supported by the citation of our work so far by other researchers. We are also actively pursuing such development.
Sectors Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology