Facile fabrication of uniform nanoscale perfluorocarbon droplets as ultrasound contrast agents

  • Ruyuan Song
  • Chuan Peng
  • Xiaonan Xu
  • Ruhai ZouEmail author
  • Shuhuai YaoEmail author
Research Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. 2018 International Conference of Microfluidics, Nanofluidics and Lab-on-a-Chip, Beijing, China


Perfluorocarbon (PFC) nanodroplets have emerged as a novel phase-change contrast agent, remotely triggered by ultrasound in situ, which holds great potential for ultrasound imaging, early cancer diagnosis, and ultrasound-mediated cancer treatment. As the characteristics of PFC nanodroplets are highly size dependent, it is crucial to tightly control the size and uniformity of PFC nanodroplets, which remain a challenge using current available emulsification techniques. To meet this niche, we developed a novel method to produce monodisperse PFC nanodroplets by the Ouzo effect using a staggered herringbone micromixer. With this method, we fabricated PFC nanodroplets from ~ 200 to ~ 700 nm in diameter with a narrow size distribution (PDI < 0.1) and the throughput of nanodroplet production could be as high as 0.48 ml/h. The stability and biocompatibility of the prepared PFC nanodroplets were verified. Finally, the acoustic characterization of PFC nanodroplets was conducted to demonstrate the feasibility of PFC nanodroplets as ultrasound contrast agents via acoustic direct vaporization.


Microfluidic mixing High throughput Uniform PFC nanodroplets Ultrasound imaging 



This work was financially supported by Research Grants Council of Hong Kong under General Research Fund (Grant no. 16206915) and Guangdong—Hong Kong Technology Cooperation Funding Scheme (Grant no. 2017A050506020).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts to declare.

Supplementary material

10404_2018_2172_MOESM1_ESM.docx (156 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 156 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bioengineering Graduate Program, Department of Chemical and Biological EngineeringThe Hong Kong University of Science and TechnologyHong KongChina
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringThe Hong Kong University of Science and TechnologyHong KongChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Collaborative Innovation Center of Cancer Medicine, Department of UltrasoundSun Yat-sen University Cancer CenterGuangzhouChina

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