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Microbubbles utilize high-frequency oscillations under ultrasound stimulation to induce a range of therapeutic effects in cells, often through mechanical stimulation and permeabilization of cells. One of the largest challenges remaining in the field is the characterization of interactions between cells and microbubbles at therapeutically relevant frequencies. Technical limitations, such as employing sufficient frame rates and obtaining sufficient image resolution, restrict the quantification of the cell's mechanical response to oscillating microbubbles. Here, a novel methodology was developed to address many of these limitations and improve the image resolution of cell-microbubble interactions at high frame rates. A compact acoustic device was designed to house cells and microbubbles as well as a therapeutically relevant acoustic field while being compatible with a Shimadzu HPV-X camera. Cell viability tests confirmed the successful culture and proliferation of cells, and the attachment of DSPC- and cationic DSEPC-microbubbles to osteosarcoma cells was quantified. Microbubble oscillation was observed within the device at a frame rate of 5 million FPS, confirming suitable acoustic field generation and ultra high-speed image capture. High spatial resolution in these images revealed observable deformation in cells following microbubble oscillation and supported the first use of digital image correlation for strain quantification in a single cell. The novel acoustic device provided a simple, effective method for improving the spatial resolution of cell-microbubble interaction images, presenting the opportunity to develop an understanding of the mechanisms driving the therapeutic effects of oscillating microbubbles upon ultrasound exposure.

Original publication




Journal article


Acs biomater sci eng

Publication Date



acoustic device, cell strain, digital image correlation, microbubbles, ultra high-speed imaging, ultrasound