Characterizing the Subharmonic Response of Phospholipid-Coated Microbubbles for Carotid Imaging
The subharmonic vibration of BR14 (Bracco Research S.A., Geneva, Switzerland) contrast agent microbubbles is investigated within the preferable frequency range for carotid ultrasound imaging (8-12 MHz). The response of the bubbles was recorded optically with an ultra-fast recording camera (Brandaris 128) at three acoustic pressures (50, 100 and 120 kPa). The vibration of the microbubbles was measured as a function of the excitation frequency and its frequency content was determined. Among 390 recordings, 40% showed subharmonic oscillations. It was observed that for smaller microbubbles (diameter < 3 μm) the frequency of the maximum subharmonic response increases for increasing pressures (shell hardening) opposite to what has been reported for larger microbubbles (3 μm < diameter < 15 μm). These findings are well predicted by the model proposed by Marmottant et al. (2005) after including the dilatational shell viscosity of the microbubbles measured by Van der Meer et al. (2007), which indicates a marked shear-thinning behavior of the phospholipid shell.