Ultrasound-Induced Bubble Clusters in Tissue-Mimicking Agar Phantoms

Pooya Movahed, Wayne Kreider, Adam D. Maxwell, Barbrina Dunmire, Jonathan B. Freund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Therapeutic ultrasound can drive bubble activity that damages soft tissues. To study the potential mechanisms of such injury, transparent agar tissue-mimicking phantoms were subjected to multiple pressure wave bursts of the kind being considered specifically for burst wave lithotripsy. A high-speed camera recorded bubble activity during each pulse. Various agar concentrations were used to alter the phantom's mechanical properties, especially its stiffness, which was varied by a factor of 3.5. However, the maximum observed bubble radius was insensitive to stiffness. During 1000 wave bursts of a candidate burst wave lithotripsy treatment, bubbles appeared continuously in a region that expanded slowly, primarily toward the transducer. Denser bubble clouds are formed at higher pulse repetition frequency. The specific observations are used to inform the incorporation of damage mechanisms into cavitation models for soft materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2318-2328
Number of pages11
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • Agar phantom
  • Bubble cluster
  • Bubble dynamics
  • Burst wave lithotripsy
  • Cavitation
  • Tissue injury
  • Viscoelastic medium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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