Stable Nanodroplet for Medical Imaging

Case ID:

This technology improves on current nanodroplet technology that can be activated through ultrasound to form microbubbles for imaging or drug delivery. These novel nanodroplets have layers at the exterior shell making the droplets more thermally stable and capable of circulating in the body longer. The nanodroplets have unaffected ultrasound activation profiles that do not require higher ultrasound frequencies.



Ultrasound imaging, also known as sonography, uses high-frequency sound waves to visualize the interior of the body. Ultrasound images can show movement of the body's internal organs as well as blood flowing through the blood vessels in real-time. Unlike X-ray imaging, however, there is no radiation exposure associated with ultrasound imaging. During an ultrasound exam, a transducer probe produces waves that bounce off of body structures and return to the probe. Calculating both the strength and time it takes for the wave to travel through the body provides the necessary information to then produce an image. Microbubbles are among the most effective type of contrast agent available for ultrasound imaging. During ultrasound resonance, microbubbles emit a unique fingerprint-like signal that can be detected to generate imaging inside the body. Additionally, microbubbles consist of porous membranes that can transport therapeutic agents across natural barriers. The implementation of microbubbles in the preceding decades has enhanced the clarity of ultrasound imaging and opened the door for targeted drug delivery. Innovations that increase the stability and decrease the size of microbubbles have expanded their potential in imaging and drug delivery.



  • Ultrasound contrast agent
  • Drug delivery
  • Gene therapy



  • Improved ultrasound modality
  • Longer lasting contrast medium
  • Increased thermal stability
  • Consistent, low ultrasound activation energy requirements
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Mitch Graffeo
Sr. Licensing Manager - COM-T
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Terry Matsunaga
Pedro Alcaraz
Russell Witte