Theoretical modelling of ultrasound contrast agents
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This thesis compares theoretical models of ultrasound contrast agents to the acoustic response from single Microbubbles(MBs). The acoustic response was compared using a range of driving parameters. A rigid shelled contrast agent and a lipid shelled contrast agent were used in the comparison. While attempts to model the behaviour of some contrast agents at low mechanical index (MI) have been successful at higher MI the behaviour of MBs is still not well understood. Understanding and predicting the response ofMBs to medical ultrasound can lead to improvements in the clinical use of MBs through improved contrast agent design or improved signal processing. Numerical models were developed to compare to three specific cases; 1) Rigid shelled contrast agents 2) Lipid shelled contrast agents 3) Responses from lipid shelled contrast agents that are hit by subsequent driving pulses. Three models were used to compare to the responses from single rigid shelled contrast agents. Two of these models have been used before and the third was developed based on the optical observations of the responses of these rigid shelled agents at these MI. Two shelled models were used to compare to the response of single lipid shelled MBs. Using statistical methods the parameters defining the shell properties were found. The parameters that gave best agreement with the lipid shelled data was then used with a model to account for the molecular diffusion of gas from a MB and a new model to account for the optically observed shedding of the shell from a MB to compare to the multiple response from single MBs. While the theoretical prediction of an acoustic response of a suspension of MBs or the radial oscillation of single MBs has been compared before to experimental data, the successful comparison of the acoustic response of single MBs to the theoretical prediction is the first of it’s kind known to the author. The new theoretical model of the rigid shelled MB that was developed in this thesis gave better agreement with the experimental data than the other previously used models. The shell parameters of the lipid shelled MB were determined for the lowest driving amplitude and were in agreement with those measured previously from optical observations. Finally, the model for the shedding of the shell was shown to give quantitative agreement with the multiple acoustic responses from single MBs. When shedding of the shell was included the choice of constitutive equation for the shell was shown to strongly affect subsequent responses from the MB.