Molecular imaging with ultrasound is a promising noninvasive technique for disease-specific imaging, enabling for instance, the diagnosis of thrombus and inflammation. Selective imaging is performed by using ultrasound contrast agent microbubbles functionalized with ligands, which bind specifically to the target molecules. Here, we investigate in a model system, the influence of adherence at a wall on the dynamics of the microbubbles, in particular, on the frequency of maximum response, by recording the radial response of individual microbubbles as a function of the applied acoustic pressure and frequency. The frequency of maximum response of adherent microbubbles was found to be over 50% lower than for bubbles in the unbounded fluid and over 30% lower than that of a nonadherent bubble in contact with the wall. The change is caused by adhesion of the bubbles to the wall as no influence was found due solely to the presence of the targeting ligands on the bubble dynamics. The shift in the frequency of maximum response may prove to be important for molecular imaging with ultrasound as this application would benefit from an acoustic imaging method to distinguish adherent microbubbles from freely circulating microbubbles.

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Keywords Adherent, Ligands, Microbubbles, Molecular imaging, Nonlinear bubble dynamics, Resonance, Targeting, Ultrasound contrast agents
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Overvelde, M., Garbin, V., Dollet, B., de Jong, N., Lohse, D., & Versluis, M.. (2011). Dynamics of Coated Microbubbles Adherent to a Wall. Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology, 37(9), 1500–1508. doi:10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2011.05.025