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Vera Khokhlova

Senior Principal Engineer






M.S. Physics, Moscow State University, 1986

Ph.D. Acoustics, Moscow State University, 1991


Ultrasonic tweezers: Technology to lift and steer solid objects in a living body

In a recent paper, a CIMU team describes successful experiments to manipulate a solid object within a living body with ultrasound beams transmitted through the skin.

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15 Jul 2020

A collaborative, international research teams developed and tuned an ultrasound transducer to create vortex shaped beams that can trap, grab, levitate, and move in three dimensions mm-scale objects. The team is working to apply this technology to their all-in-one kidney stone treatment system that, in clinical trials, uses ultrasound to non-invasively break, erode, and move stones and stone fragments out of the kidney so that they may pass naturally from the body.

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. A multi-institution, international team led by CIMU researchers is applying the method to the focal treatment of prostate tumors.

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19 Mar 2020

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.

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


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Noninvasive acoustic manipulation of objects in a living body

Ghanem, M.A., A.D. Maxwell, Y.-N. Wang, B.W. Cunitz, V.A. Khokhlova, O.A. Sopozhnikov, and M.R. Bailey, "Noninvasive acoustic manipulation of objects in a living body," Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, EOR, doi:10.1073/pnas.2001779117, 2020.

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6 Jul 2020

In certain medical applications, transmitting an ultrasound beam through the skin to manipulate a solid object within the human body would be beneficial. Such applications include, for example, controlling an ingestible camera or expelling a kidney stone. In this paper, ultrasound beams of specific shapes were designed by numerical modeling and produced using a phased array. These beams were shown to levitate and electronically steer solid objects (3-mm-diameter glass spheres), along preprogrammed paths, in a water bath, and in the urinary bladders of live pigs. Deviation from the intended path was on average <10%. No injury was found on the bladder wall or intervening tissue.

Pilot in vivo studies on transcutaneous boiling histotripsy in porcine liver and kidney

Khokhlova, T.D., G.R. Schade, Y.-N. Wang, S.V. Buravkov, V.P. Chernikov, J.C. Simon, F. Starr, A.D. Maxwell, M.R. Bailey, W. Kreider, and V.A. Khokhlova, "Pilot in vivo studies on transcutaneous boiling histotripsy in porcine liver and kidney," Sci. Rep., 9, 20176, doi:10.1038/s41598-019-56658-7, 2019.

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27 Dec 2019

Boiling histotripsy (BH) is a High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) method for precise mechanical disintegration of target tissue using millisecond-long pulses containing shocks. BH treatments with real-time ultrasound (US) guidance allowed by BH-generated bubbles were previously demonstrated ex vivo and in vivo in exposed porcine liver and small animals. Here, the feasibility of US-guided transabdominal and partially transcostal BH ablation of kidney and liver in an acute in vivo swine model was evaluated for 6 animals. BH parameters were: 1.5 MHz frequency, 5–30 pulses of 1–10 ms duration per focus, 1% duty cycle, peak acoustic powers 0.9–3.8 kW, sonication foci spaced 1–1.5 mm apart in a rectangular grid with 5–15 mm linear dimensions. In kidneys, well-demarcated volumetric BH lesions were generated without respiratory gating and renal medulla and collecting system were more resistant to BH than cortex. The treatment was accelerated 10-fold by using shorter BH pulses of larger peak power without affecting the quality of tissue fractionation. In liver, respiratory motion and aberrations from subcutaneous fat affected the treatment but increasing the peak power provided successful lesion generation. These data indicate BH is a promising technology for transabdominal and transcostal mechanical ablation of tumors in kidney and liver.

Quantification of acoustic radiation forces on solid objects in fluid

Ghanem, M.A., A.D. Maxwell, O.A. Sapozhnikov, V.A. Khokhlova, and M.R. Bailey, "Quantification of acoustic radiation forces on solid objects in fluid," Phys. Rev. Appl., 12, doi:10.1103/PhysRevApplied.12.044076, 2019.

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1 Oct 2019

Theoretical models allow design of acoustic traps to manipulate objects with radiation force. A model of the acoustic radiation force by an arbitrary beam on a solid object is validated against measurement. The lateral force in water of different acoustic beams is measured and calculated for spheres of different diameters (2–6 wavelengths λ in water) and compositions. This is the first effort to validate a general model, to quantify the lateral force on a range of objects, and to electronically steer large or dense objects with a single-sided transducer. Vortex beams and two other beam shapes having a ring-shaped pressure field in the focal plane are synthesized in water by a 1.5-MHz, 256-element focused array. Spherical targets (glass, brass, ceramic, 2–6 mm dia.) are placed on an acoustically transparent plastic plate that is normal to the acoustic beam axis and rigidly attached to the array. Each sphere is trapped in the beam as the array with the attached plate is rotated until the sphere falls from the acoustic trap because of gravity. Calculated and measured maximum obtained angles agree on average to within 22%. The maximum lateral force occurs when the target diameter equals the beam width; however, objects up to 40% larger than the beam width are trapped. The lateral force is comparable to the gravitation force on spheres up to 90 mg (0.0009 N) at beam powers on the order of 10 W. As a step toward manipulating objects, the beams are used to trap and electronically steer the spheres along a two-dimensional path.

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Method and system for MRI-based targeting, monitoring, and quantification of thermal and mechanical bioeffects in tissue induced by high intensity focused ultrasound

Example embodiments of system and method for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques for planning, real-time monitoring, control, and post-treatment assessment of high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) mechanical fractionation of biological material are disclosed. An adapted form of HIFU, referred to as "boiling histotripsy" (BH), can be used to cause mechanical fractionation of biological material. In contrast to conventional HIFU, which cause pure thermal ablation, BH can generate therapeutic destruction of biological tissue with a degree of control and precision that allows the process to be accurately measured and monitored in real-time as well as the outcome of the treatment can be evaluated using a variety of MRI techniques. Real-time monitoring also allow for real-time control of BH.

Patent Number: 10,694,974

Vera Khokhlova, Wayne Kreider, Adam Maxwell, Yak-Nam Wang, Mike Bailey


30 Jun 2020

Systems and Methods for Measuring Pressure Distributions of Acoustic Beams from Ultrasound Sources

The present technology relates generally to receiving arrays to measure a characteristic of an acoustic beam and associated systems and methods.

Patent Number: 10,598,773

Oleg Sapozhnikov, Wayne Kreider, Adam Maxwell, Vera Khokhlova

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24 Mar 2020

The present technology relates generally to receiving arrays to measure a characteristic of an acoustic beam and associated systems and methods. The receiving arrays can include elongated elements having at least one dimension, such as a length, that is larger than a width of an emitted acoustic beam and another dimension, such as a width, that is smaller than half of a characteristic wavelength of an ultrasound wave. The elongated elements can be configured to capture waveform measurements of the beam based on a characteristic of the emitted acoustic beam as the acoustic beam crosses a plane of the array, such as a transverse plane. The methods include measuring at least one characteristic of an ultrasound source using an array-based acoustic holography system and defining a measured hologram at the array surface based, at least in part, on the waveform measurements. The measured hologram can be processed to reconstruct a characteristic of the ultrasound source. The ultrasound source can be calibrated and/or re-calibrated based on the characteristic.

Pulse Amplifier for Driving Ultrasound Transducers

Patent Number: 9,867,999

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

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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.

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