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The study of the effects of ultrasound-induced acoustic cavitation on biological structures is an active field in biomedical research. Of particular interest for therapeutic applications is the ability of oscillating microbubbles to promote both cellular and tissue membrane permeabilisation and to improve the distribution of therapeutic agents in tissue through extravasation and convective transport. The mechanisms that underpin the interaction between cavitating agents and tissues are, however, still poorly understood. One challenge is the practical difficulty involved in performing optical microscopy and acoustic emissions monitoring simultaneously in a biologically compatible environment. Here we present and characterise a microfluidic layered acoustic resonator (μLAR) developed for simultaneous ultrasound exposure, acoustic emissions monitoring, and microscopy of biological samples. The μLAR facilitates in vitro ultrasound experiments in which measurements of microbubble dynamics, microstreaming velocity fields, acoustic emissions, and cell-microbubble interactions can be performed simultaneously. The device and analyses presented provide a means of performing mechanistic in vitro studies that may benefit the design of predictable and effective cavitation-based ultrasound treatments.

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