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Volume 2014, Article ID 579684, 24 pages
Review Article

Improving the Performance of Phase-Change Perfluorocarbon Droplets for Medical Ultrasonography: Current Progress, Challenges, and Prospects

Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, The University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA

Received 10 February 2014; Accepted 2 April 2014; Published 1 June 2014

Academic Editor: Gaio Paradossi

Copyright © 2014 Paul S. Sheeran and Paul A. Dayton. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Over the past two decades, perfluorocarbon (PFC) droplets have been investigated for biomedical applications across a wide range of imaging modalities. More recently, interest has increased in “phase-change” PFC droplets (or “phase-change” contrast agents), which can convert from liquid to gas with an external energy input. In the field of ultrasound, phase-change droplets present an attractive alternative to traditional microbubble agents for many diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Despite the progress, phase-change PFC droplets remain far from clinical implementation due to a number of challenges. In this review, we survey our recent work to enhance the performance of phase-change agents for ultrasound through a variety of techniques in order to provide increased efficacy in therapeutic applications of ultrasound and enable previously unexplored applications in diagnostic and molecular imaging.