Experimental determination of phase velocity of perfluorocarbons: Applications to targeted contrast agents

Christopher S. Hall, Gregory M. Lanza, James H. Rose, Robert J. Kaufman, Ralph W. Fuhrhop, Scott H. Handley, Kendall R. Waters, James G. Miller, Samuel A. Wickline

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Targeted acoustic contrast agents are designed to enhance the sensitivity and specificity of ultrasonic diagnoses. We have previously developed a ligand targeted ultrasonic contrast system which is a liquid, lipid encapsulated perfluorocarbon emulsion. The emulsion particles are small (250 nm) and have inherently low echogenicity unless bound to a surface by a pretargeted ligand through avidin-biotin interactions. We have recently proposed a simple acoustic transmission line model that treats the emulsion particles as a thin layer over the targeted surface. The acoustic reflectivity of the contrast layer is related to the longitudinal velocity and density of the perfluorocarbon. Improvement of the contrast effect may be achieved by using perfluorocarbons with slower longitudinal velocities and/or lower densities. We report the longitudinal velocities as a function of frequency of 20 perfluorocarbons using a broadband phase spectroscopic approach for estimating phase velocities. Experimentally determined velocities ranged from 520±2 m/sec (perfluorohexane) to 705±5 m/sec (perfluorodecalin). No measurable dispersion was observed over the useful bandwidth of 2 to 22 MHz. Increasing carbon backbone chain length and fluorine substitution with halogens of greater atomic weight increased the measured speed of sound. Our experimental data were consistent (R = 0.87) with a published empirical model that predicts velocity as a function of molecular structure. These data provide a rational basis for optimizing targeted perfluorocarbon-based contrast agents and offer further insight into the physical mechanisms responsible for the observed enhancement of the acoustic scattering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1605-1608
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the IEEE Ultrasonics Symposium
StatePublished - 1997
EventProceedings of the 1997 IEEE Ultrasonics Symposium. Part 1 (of 2) - Toronto, Can
Duration: Oct 5 1997Oct 8 1997


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