Improvements in the ultrasonic contrast of targeted perfluorocarbon nanoparticles using an acoustic transmission line model

Jon N. Marsh, Christopher S. Hall, Michael J. Scott, Ralph W. Fuhrhop, Patrick J. Gaffney, Samuel A. Wickline, Gregory M. Lanza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Targeted acoustic contrast agents offer the potential for sensitive ultrasonic detection of pathologic tissues. We have previously reported the development of a ligand-targeted, lipid-encapsulated, liquid perfluorodichlorooctane ultrasonic contrast system with a small nominal particle size (approximately 250-nm diameter). Perfluorocarbon nanoparticles substantially increase reflectivity when bound to targeted surfaces, and we propose that this system can be approximated physically as a simple, thin layer, acoustic transmission line. In this study, we evaluate this model and compare the ultrasonic reflectivity of different perfluorocarbon formulations with widely varying acoustic impedances targeted to either nitrocellulose membranes or plasma thrombi in vitro. Five perfluorocarbons were investigated: perfluorohexane (PFH), perfluorooctane (PFO), perfluorooctyl bromide (PFOB), perfluorodichlorooctane (PFDCO), and perfluorodecalin (PFD). Ultrasonic reflection was measured by acoustic microscopy (17 to 35 MHz). Acoustic reflectivity was increased (P < 0.05) by all targeted perfluorocarbon formulations, and the magnitude of the contrast effect was inversely correlated with the perfluorocarbon acoustic impedance. PFH nanoparticles exhibited the greatest enhancement, and PFD nanoparticles showed the least. The acoustic transmission line model predicted well the relative differences in acoustic reflectivity and frequency dependence among the perfluorocarbon formulations. For future clinical applications, PFO nanoparticles may provide the best combination of acoustic enhancement, in vivo physical stability, and safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2002


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