Laser-nucleated acoustic cavitation in focused ultrasound

Bjoern Gerold*, Spiros Kotopoulis, Craig McDougall, David McGloin, Michiel Postema, Paul Prentice

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Acoustic cavitation can occur in therapeutic applications of high-amplitude focused ultrasound. Studying acoustic cavitation has been challenging, because the onset of nucleation is unpredictable. We hypothesized that acoustic cavitation can be forced to occur at a specific location using a laser to nucleate a microcavity in a pre-established ultrasound field. In this paper we describe a scientific instrument that is dedicated to this outcome, combining a focused ultrasound transducer with a pulsed laser. We present high-speed photographic observations of laser-induced cavitation and laser-nucleated acoustic cavitation, at frame rates of 0.5106 frames per second, from laser pulses of energy above and below the optical breakdown threshold, respectively. Acoustic recordings demonstrated inertial cavitation can be controllably introduced to the ultrasound focus. This technique will contribute to the understanding of cavitation evolution in focused ultrasound including for potential therapeutic applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number044902
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work has been supported by European Union (EU) FP7 [Grant No. 230674 (Nanoporation)], Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Emmy Noether Programme (Grant No. 38355133), and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (United Kingdom) [EPSRC(GB)] (Grant Nos. EP/G01213X/1 and EP/F037025/1). Bjoern Gerold has been supported by an EPSRC DTA award. David McGloin is supported by the Royal Society. We are very grateful to EPSRC loan pool, notably to Adrian Walker, for ongoing access to high-speed imaging devices; to Javier Grinfeld, Yoav Medan, Oleg Prus, and Alex Volovick, all from InSightec Ltd, Tirat Carmel, Israel, for ongoing technical support; and Joyce Joy for ultrasound calibration measurements.


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