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An experimental study on the stiffness of size-isolated microbubbles using atomic force microscopy

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5 Author(s)
Chen, C.C. ; Dept. of Biomed. Eng., Columbia Univ., New York, NY, USA ; Shih-Ying Wu ; Finan, J.D. ; Morrison, B., III
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To fully assess contrast-enhanced acoustic bioeffects in diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, the mechanical properties of microbubbles need to be considered. In the present study, direct measurements of the microbubble stiffness were performed using atomic force microscopy by applying nanoscale compressions (up to 25 nN/s) on size-isolated, lipidcoated microbubbles (diameter ranges of 4 to 6 μm and 6 to 8 μm). The stiffness was found to lie between 4 and 22 mN/m and to decrease exponentially with the microbubble size within the diameter range investigated. No cantilever spring constant effect was found on the measured stiffness. The Young's modulus of the size-isolated microbubbles used in our study ranged between 0.4 and 2 MPa. Microstructures on the surface of the microbubbles were found to influence the overall microbubble elasticity. Our results indicated that more detailed theoretical models are needed to account for the size-dependent microbubble mechanical properties to accurately predict their acoustic behavior. The findings provided useful insights into guidance of cavitation-induced drug and gene delivery and could be used as part of the framework in studies on the shear stresses induced on the blood vessel walls by oscillating microbubbles.

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Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:60 ,  Issue: 3 )