Response of bubbles to diagnostic ultrasound: A unifying theoretical approach

S. Hilgenfeldt, D. Lohse, M. Zomack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The scattering of ultrasound from bubbles of ∼ 1 μm radius, such as used in contrast enhancers for ultrasound diagnostics, is studied. We show that sound scattering and "active" emission of sound from oscillating bubbles are not contradictory, but are just two different aspects derived from the same physics. Treating the bubble as a nonlinear oscillator, we arrive at general formulas for scattering and absorption cross-sections. We show that several well-known formulas are recovered in the linear limit of this ansatz. In the case of strongly nonlinear oscillations, however, the cross-sections can be larger than those for linear response by several orders of magnitude. The major part of the incident sound energy is then converted into emitted sound, unlike what happens in the linear case, where the absorption cross-sections exceed the scattering cross-sections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-255
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Physical Journal B
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


  • 43.25.+y Nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics
  • 43.80.+p Bioacoustics
  • 87.59.Mt Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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