National Physical Laboratory

Measuring with microbubbles

NPL is working with University College London on a fascinating project which investigates the dynamics of microbubbles, to see if they can be used as highly sensitive sensors in medical and industrial applications.

Measuring with microbubbles
Microbubbles can support a variety of healthcare
applications - including delivering drugs to specific
sites within the body which could revolutionise
medical treatments for many conditions

Microbubbles are specially-coated bubbles which are designed primarily to enhance ultrasound pulse-echo imaging. Their use significantly enhances sound echoes, thereby improving detection accuracy, and therefore diagnosis, of 'difficult' cancers (such as liver and prostate), and breast cancers.

Microbubbles (and specially designed ultrasonic fields) are also being studied worldwide as possible vehicles for drug and gene delivery. They promise to play a crucial role in fighting Alzheimer's disease, or cancers in which the use of chemotherapy is deemed too risky to the patient, and thus a targeted therapy is more effective.

NPL's work in this area is developing the measurement building blocks, to exploit the sensitivity of microbubbles to local changes in their environment, so extending their effectiveness in medical applications, and beyond.

Find out more about NPL's work in Acoustics and Healthcare

Last Updated: 23 Mar 2016
Created: 27 Jan 2011

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