Microbubbles are used as ultrasound contrast agents in medical diagnosis and also have shown great promise in ultrasound-mediated therapy. However, short lifetime and broad size distribution of microbubbles limit their applications in therapy and imaging. Moreover, it is challenging to tailor the echogenic response of microbubbles to make them suitable for specific applications. To overcome these challenges, we use microfluidic flow-focusing to prepare monodisperse microbubbles with a mixture of a recombinant amphiphilic protein, oleosin, and a synthetic amphiphilic copolymer, Pluronic. We show that these microbubbles have superior uniformity and stability under ultrasonic stimulation compared to commercial agents. We also demonstrate that by using different Pluronics, the echogenic response of the microbubbles can be tailored. Our work shows the versatility of using the combination of microfluidics and protein/copolymer mixtures as a method of engineering microbubbles. This tunability could potentially be important and powerful in producing microbubble agents for theranostic applications.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces