An ultrasonic technique for estimating viscoelastic properties of hydrogels, including engineered biological tissues, is being developed. An acoustic radiation force is applied to deform the gel locally while Doppler pulses track the induced movement. The system efficiently couples radiation force to the medium through an embedded scattering sphere. A single-element, spherically-focused, circular piston element transmits a continuous-wave burst to suddenly apply and remove a radiation force to the sphere. Simultaneously, a linear array and spectral Doppler technique are applied to track the position of the sphere over time. The complex shear modulus of the gel was estimated by applying a harmonic oscillator model to measurements of time-varying sphere displacement. Assuming that the stress-strain response of the surrounding gel is linear, this model yields an impulse response function for the gel system that may be used to estimate material properties for other load functions. The method is designed to explore the force-frequency landscape of cell-matrix viscoelasticity. Reported measurements of the shear modulus of gelatin gels at two concentrations are in close agreement with independent rheometer measurements of the same gels. Accurate modulus measurements require that the rate of Doppler-pulse transmission be matched to a priori estimates of gel properties.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics