Ultrasound-induced microbubble coalescence

Michiel Postema, Philippe Marmottant, Charles T. Lancée, Sascha Hilgenfeldt, Nico De Jong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We studied the interaction of ultrasound contrast agent bubbles coated with a layer of lipids, driven by 0.5 MHz ultrasound. High-speed photography on the submicrosecond timescale reveals that some bubbles bounce off each other, while others show very fast coalescence during bubble expansion. This fast coalescence cannot be explained by dissipation-limited film drainage rates. We conclude that the lipid shell ruptures upon expansion, exposing clean free bubble interfaces that support plug flow profiles in the film and inertia-limited drainage whose time scales match those of the observed coalescence. (E-mail: M.postema@erasmusmc.nl)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1337-1344
Number of pages8
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Film drainage
  • Microbubble coalescence
  • Ultrasound contrast agent
  • high-speed photography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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