Diversity of biomedical applications of acoustic radiation force

Ultrasonics. 2010 Feb;50(2):230-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ultras.2009.10.001. Epub 2009 Oct 12.


This manuscript is a summary of the paper presented at the ICU'2009 on biomedical applications of acoustic radiation force with emphasis on emerging applications in microfluidics, biotechnology, biosensors and assessment of the skeletal system. In this brief overview of current and projected applications of radiation force, no detailed description of the experiments illustrating particular applications are given as this would result in a far different and longer paper. Various mechanisms of acoustic radiation force generations and their biomedical applications are considered. These mechanisms include: (a) change in the density of energy of the propagating wave due to absorption and scattering; (b) spatial variations of energy density in standing acoustic waves; (c) reflection from inclusions, walls or other interfaces; and (d) spatial variations in propagation velocity. The widest area of biomedical applications of radiation force is related to medical diagnostics, to assessing viscoelastic properties of biological tissues and fluids, and specifically to elasticity imaging. Another actively explored area is related to manipulation of biological cells and particles in standing ultrasonic wave fields. There are several poorly explored areas of potential biomedical applications of ultrasound radiation force. A promising area of biomedical application of ultrasound radiation force is stirring and mixing of microvolumes of liquids in microfluidics and in various biotechnological application where diffusion rate is the main factor limiting the efficiency of the process of interest. A new technique, called "swept frequency method", based on the use of radiation force in the standing acoustic wave for microstirring of liquids is described. The potential applications of the ultrasound radiation force for assessment of skeletal system, where conventional bone ultrasonometry are inapplicable are considered.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics*
  • Animals
  • Biosensing Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging*
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques / instrumentation
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Microtechnology / methods*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Transducers
  • Ultrasonics