Correlation of rupture dynamics to the nonlinear backscatter response from polymer-shelled ultrasound contrast agents

Sujeethraj Koppolu, Parag V. Chitnis, Jonathan Mamou, John S. Allen, Jeffrey A. Ketterling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Polymer-shelled ultrasound contrast agents (UCAs) may expel their encapsulated gas subject to ultrasound- induced shell buckling or rupture. Nonlinear oscillations of this gas bubble can produce a subharmonic component in the ultrasound backscatter. This study investigated the relationship between this gas-release mechanism and shell-thickness- to-radius ratios (STRRs) of polymer-shelled UCAs. Three types of polylactide-shelled UCAs with STRRs of 7.5, 40, and 100 nm/μm were studied. Each UCA population had a nominal mean diameter of 2 μm. UCAs were subjected to increasing static overpressure ranging from 2 to 330 kPa over a duration of 2 h in a custom-designed test chamber while being imaged using a 200× magnification video microscope at a frame rate of 5 frames/s. Digitized video images were binarized and processed to obtain the cross-sectional area of individual UCAs. Integration of the normalized cross-sectional area over normalized time, defined as buckling factor (Bf), provided a dimensionless parameter for quantifying and comparing the degree of pre-rupture buckling exhibited by the UCAs of different STRRs in response to overpressure. The UCAs with an STRR of 7.5 nm/μm exhibited a distinct shell-buckling phase before shell rupture (Bf < 1), whereas the UCAs with higher STRRs (40 and 100 nm/μm) did not undergo significant prerupture buckling (Bf ≈ 1). The difference in the overpressure response was correlated with the subharmonic response produced by these UCAs. When excited using 20-MHz ultrasound, individual UCAs (N = 3000) in populations that did not exhibit a buckling phase produced a subharmonic response that was an order of magnitude greater than the UCA population with a prominent pre-rupture buckling phase. These results indicate the mechanism of gas expulsion from these UCAs might be a relevant factor in determining the level of subharmonic response in response to high-frequency ultrasound.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7055443
Pages (from-to)494-501
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Correlation of rupture dynamics to the nonlinear backscatter response from polymer-shelled ultrasound contrast agents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this