Real time observation of the ultrasound stimulated disintegration of optically trapped microbubbles in proximity to biological cells

Paul Prentice, Michael P. MacDonald, Alfred Cuschieri, Kishan Dholakia, Paul Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Cells that are exposed to varying amounts of ultrasonic energy in the presence of ultrasound contrast agent (UCA) may undergo either permanent cell membrane damage (lethal sonoporation), or a transient enhancement of membrane permeability (reversible or non lethal sonoporation). The merits of each mode are clear; lethal sonoporation constitutes a significant tumour therapy weapon, whilst its less intrusive counterpart, reversible sonoporation, represents an effective non-invasive targeted drug delivery technique. Our working hypothesis for understanding this problem was that the root cause and effect in sonoporation involves the interaction of individual cells with single microbubbles, and to that end we devised an experiment that facilitates video rate observation of this specific scenario under well defined optical control. Specifically, we have constructed an innovative hybridization apparatus involving holographic optical trapping of single and multiple UCA microbubbles, together with the facility to irradiate with MHz pulsed ultrasound energy in the presence cancerous cells. This approach allows the isolation of a target microbubble from a resident population and the relocation to a [controllable] predetermined position relative to a cell within a monolayer. Frame extraction from standard framing rate video microscopy demonstrates the individuality of single microbubble-cell interactions. We describe a fluorescence microscopy protocol that will allow future study of the potential to deliver molecular species to cells, the dependence of the delivery on the initial microbubble-cell distance and to determine the targeted cell survival.

Original languageEnglish
Article number59300H
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2005
EventOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation II - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 31 Jul 20054 Aug 2005


  • Cancer
  • Holographic
  • Optical trapping
  • Trap arrays
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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