Campus Map

Vera Khokhlova

Senior Principal Engineer






Characterizing Medical Ultrasound Sources and Fields

For every medical ultrasound transducer it's important to characterize the field it creates, whether for safety of imaging or efficacy of therapy. CIMU researchers measure a 2D acoustic pressure distribution in the beam emanating from the source transducer and then reconstruct mathematically the exact field on the surface of the transducer and in the entire 3D space.

11 Sep 2017

Mechanical Tissue Ablation with Focused Ultrasound

An experimental noninvasive surgery method uses nonlinear ultrasound pulses to liquefy tissue at remote target sites within a small focal region without damaging intervening tissues.

More Info

23 Mar 2017

Boiling histotripsy utilizes sequences of millisecond-duration HIFU pulses with high-amplitude shocks that form at the focus by nonlinear propagation effects. Due to strong attenuation of the ultrasound energy at the shocks, these nonlinear waves rapidly heat tissue and generate millimeter-sized boiling bubbles at the focus within each pulse. Then the further interaction of subsequent shocks with the vapor cavity causes tissue disintegration into subcellular debris through the acoustic atomization mechanism.

The method was proposed at APL-UW in collaboration with Moscow State University (Russia) and now is being evaluated for various clinical applications. It has particular promise because of its important clinical advantages: the treatment of tissue volumes can be accelerated while sparing adjacent structures and not injuring intervening tissues; it generates precisely controlled mechanical lesions with sharp margins; the method can be implemented in existing clinical systems; and it can be used with real-time ultrasound imaging for targeting, guidance, and evaluation of outcomes. In addition, compared to thermal ablation, BH may lead to faster resorption of the liquefied lesion contents.


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Mechanical decellularization of tissue volumes using boiling histotripsy

Wang, Y.-N., T.D. Khokhlova, S. Buravkov, V. Chernikov, W. Greider, A. Partanen, N. Farr, A. Maxwell, G.R. Schade, and V.A. Khokhlova, "Mechanical decellularization of tissue volumes using boiling histotripsy," Phys. Med. Biol., 6, 235023, doi:

More Info

4 Dec 2018

High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is rapidly advancing as an alternative therapy for non-invasively treating specific cancers and other pathological tissues through thermal ablation. A new type of HIFU therapy — boiling histotripsy (BH) — aims at mechanical fractionation of into subcellular fragments, with a range of accompanying thermal effects that can be tuned from none to substantial depending on the requirements of the application. The degree of mechanical tissue damage induced by BH has been shown to depend on the tissue type, with collagenous structures being most resistant, and cellular structures being most sensitive. This has been reported for single BH lesions, but has not been replicated in large volumes. Such tissue selectivity effect has potential uses involving tissue decellularization for biofabrication technologies as well as mechanical ablation by BH while sparing critical structures. The goal of this study was to investigate tissue decellularization effect in larger, clinically relevant liquefied volumes of tissue, and to evaluate the accumulated thermal effect in the volumetric lesions under different exposure parameters. All BH exposures were performed with a 256-element 1.2-MHz array of a magnetic resonance imaging — guided HIFU (MR-HIFU) clinical system (Sonalleve V1, Profound Medical Inc, Mississauga, Canada). The volumetric BH lesions were produced in degassed ex vivo bovine liver using 1–10-ms long pulses with in situ shock amplitudes of 75–100 MPa at the focus and pulse repetition frequencies (PRFs) of 1–10 Hz covering a range of effects from pure mechanical homogenization to thermal ablation. Multimodal analysis of the lesions was then performed, including microstructure (histological), ultrastructure (electron microscopy), and molecular (biochemistry) methods. Results show a range of tissue effects in terms of the degree of tissue selectivity and the amount of heat generated in large BH lesions, thereby demonstrating potential for treatments tailored to different clinical applications.

Dependence of inertial cavitation induced by high intensity focused ultrasound on transducer F-number and nonlinear waveform distortion

Khokhlova, T., P. Rosnitskiy, C. Hunter, A. Maxwell, W. Kreider, G. Ter Haar, M. Costa, O. Sapozhnikov, and V. Khokhlova, "Dependence of inertial cavitation induced by high intensity focused ultrasound on transducer F-number and nonlinear waveform distortion," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 144, 1160, doi:10.1121/1.5052260, 2018.

More Info

1 Sep 2018

Pulsed high intensity focused ultrasound was shown to enhance chemotherapeutic drug uptake in tumor tissue through inertial cavitation, which is commonly assumed to require peak rarefactional pressures to exceed a certain threshold. However, recent studies have indicated that inertial cavitation activity also correlates with the presence of shocks at the focus. The shock front amplitude and corresponding peak negative pressure (p–) in the focal waveform are primarily determined by the transducer F-number: less focused transducers produce shocks at lower p–. Here, the dependence of inertial cavitation activity on the transducer F-number was investigated in agarose gel by monitoring broadband noise emissions with a coaxial passive cavitation detector (PCD) during pulsed exposures (pulse duration 1 ms, pulse repetition frequency 1 Hz) with p– varying within 1–15 MPa. Three 1.5 MHz transducers with the same aperture, but different focal distances (F-numbers 0.77, 1.02, 1.52) were used. PCD signals were processed to extract cavitation probability, persistence, and mean noise level. At the same p–, all metrics indicated enhanced cavitation activity at higher F-numbers; specifically, cavitation probability reached 100% when shocks formed at the focus. These results provide further evidence supporting the excitation of inertial cavitation at reduced p– by waveforms with nonlinear distortion and shocks.

Field characterization and compensation of vibrational nonuniformity for a 256-element focused ultrasound phased array

Ghanem, M.A., A.D. Maxwell, W. Kreider, B.W. Cunitz, V.A. Khokhlova, O.A. Sapozhnikov, and M.R. Bailey, "Field characterization and compensation of vibrational nonuniformity for a 256-element focused ultrasound phased array," IEEE Trans. Ultrason. Ferroelectr. Freq. Control, 65, 1618-1630, doi:10.1109/TUFFC.2018.2851188, 2018.

More Info

1 Sep 2018

Multielement focused ultrasound phased arrays have been used in therapeutic applications to treat large tissue volumes by electronic steering of the focus, to target multiple simultaneous foci, and to correct aberration caused by inhomogeneous tissue pathways. There is an increasing interest in using arrays to generate more complex beam shapes and corresponding acoustic radiation force patterns for manipulation of particles such as kidney stones. Toward this end, experimental and computational tools are needed to enable accurate delivery of desired transducer vibrations and corresponding ultrasound fields. The purpose of this paper was to characterize the vibrations of a 256-element array at 1.5 MHz, implement strategies to compensate for variability, and test the ability to generate specified vortex beams that are relevant to particle manipulation. The characterization of the array output was performed in water using both element-by-element measurements at the focus of the array and holography measurements for which all the elements were excited simultaneously. Both methods were used to quantify each element’s output so that the power of each element could be equalized. Vortex beams generated using both compensation strategies were measured and compared to the Rayleigh integral simulations of fields generated by an idealized array based on the manufacturer’s specifications. Although both approaches improved beam axisymmetry, compensation based on holography measurements had half the error relative to the simulation results in comparison to the element-by-element method.

More Publications


Pulse Amplifier for Driving Ultrasound Transducers

Patent Number: 9,867,999

Adam Maxwell, Bryan Cunitz, Mike Bailey, Vera Khokhlova, Timothy Hall

More Info


16 Jan 2018

Embodiments of the invention include improved radiofrequency (RF) pulse amplifier systems that incorporate an energy array comprising multiple capacitors connected in parallel. The energy array extends the maximum length of pulses and the maximum achievable peak power output of the amplifier when compared to similar systems. Embodiments also include systems comprising the amplifier configured to drive a load, wherein the load may include one or more ultrasound (e.g., piezoelectric) transducers Related methods of using the amplifier are also provided.

Imaging Bubbles in a Medium

Patent Number: 9,743,909

Oleg Sapozhnikov, Mike Bailey, Joo Ha Hwang, Tatiana Khokhlova, Vera Khokhlova, Tong Li, Matthew O'Donnell

More Info


29 Aug 2017

A method for imaging a cavitation bubble includes producing a vibratory wave that induces a cavitation bubble in a medium, producing one or more detection waves directed toward the induced cavitation bubble, receiving one or more reflection waves, identifying a change in one or more characteristics of the induced cavitation bubble, and generating an image of the induced cavitation bubble using a computing device on the basis of the identified change in the one or more characteristics. The one or more received reflection waves correspond to at least one of the one or more produced detection waves reflection from the induced cavitation bubble. The identified change in one or more characteristics corresponds to the one or more received reflection waves.

Methods and Systems for Non-invasive Treatment of Tissue Using High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Therapy

Patent Number: 9,700,742

Michael Canney, Mike Bailey, Larry Crum, Joo Ha Hwang, Tatiana Khokhlova, Vera Khokhlova, Wayne Kreider, Oleg Sapozhnikov

More Info


11 Jul 2017

Methods and systems for non-invasive treatment of tissue using high intensity focused ultrasound ("HIFU") therapy. A method of non-invasively treating tissue in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology, for example, can include positioning a focal plane of an ultrasound source at a target site in tissue. The ultrasound source can be configured to emit HIFU waves. The method can further include pulsing ultrasound energy from the ultrasound source toward the target site, and generating shock waves in the tissue to induce boiling of the tissue at the target site within milliseconds. The boiling of the tissue at least substantially emulsifies the tissue.

More Inventions

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center