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Larry Crum

Principal Physicist

Research Professor, Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering





Research Interests

Physical Acoustics, Therapeutic Ultrasound, Image-guided Therapy


Dr. Lawrence A. Crum is Principal Physicist in the Applied Physics Laboratory, Research Professor of Bioengineering and Electrical Engineering, and Founder and former Director of the Center for Industrial and Medical Ultrasound, all at the University of Washington in Seattle. He has held previous positions at Harvard University, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the University of Mississippi, where he was F.A.P. Barnard Distinguished Professor of Physics and Director of the National Center for Physical Acoustics.

He has published over 200 articles in professional journals, been awarded 11 patents, holds an honorary doctorate from the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, and was recently awarded the Gold Medal of the Acoustical Society of America, its highest honor. He is Past President of the Acoustical Society of America, the Board of the International Commission for Acoustics, and the International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound. He is co-founder of 3 medical device companies. His interests lie in the general area of physical and biomedical acoustics.


B.S. Mathematics, Ohio University, 1963

M.S. Physics, Ohio University, 1965

Ph.D. Physics, Ohio University, 1967


SonoMotion: A Budding Start-up Company

A research team has developed new technologies to treat kidney stone disease with an ultrasound-based system. Embraced by clinicians, their advances are now being taken to the next step: transition the prototype to an approved device that will roll into hospitals and clinics around the world.

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11 Feb 2013

At the Center for Industrial and Medical Ultrasound a team of scientists, engineers, and students has developed an ultrasound-based system that may provide an office procedure to speed the natural passage of kidney stones. The system uses commercial ultrasound components to locate stones in kidneys. It creates clear pictures of them and then applies an acoustic radiative force, repositioning stones in the kidney so they are more likely to pass naturally.

As a research team, considerable technical advancements have been made and valuable feedback and cooperation has been garnered from the user community – the clinicians. The scientists, engineers, urologists, and commercialization experts are now collaborating to take the next steps.

SonoMotion has partnered with a hardware manufacturing company and licensed the ultrasonic propulsion of kidney stones technology with the University of Washington. The next big step will be to transition the prototype system into one that will pass the rigors of FDA review and be ready to roll into hospitals and clinics around the world.


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Design and characterization of a research phantom for shock-wave enhanced irradiations in high intensity focused ultrasound therapy

Kreider, W., B. Dunmire, J. Kucewicz, C. Hunter, T. Khokhlova, G. Schade, A. Maxwell, O. Sapozhnikov, L. Crum, and V. Khokhlova, "Design and characterization of a research phantom for shock-wave enhanced irradiations in high intensity focused ultrasound therapy," Proc., IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium, 6-9 September, Washington, D.C., doi:10.1109/ULTSYM.2017.8092866 (IEEE, 2017).

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2 Nov 2017

The use of shock waves for enhancing thermal effects and mechanically ablating tissue is gaining increased attention in high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) applications such as tumor treatment, drug delivery, noninvasive biopsy, and immunotherapy. For abdominal targets, the presence of ribs and inhomogeneous adipose tissue can affect shock formation through aberration, absorption, and diffraction. The goal of this study was to design and validate a phantom for investigating the impact of different tissue structures on shock formation in situ. A transducer with driving electronics was developed to operate at 1.2 MHz with the ability to deliver either short pulses at high powers (up to 5 kW electric power) or continuous output at moderate powers (up to 700 W). Fat and muscle layers were represented by phantoms made from polyvinyl alcohol. Ribs were 3D-printed from a photopolymer material based on 3D CT scan images. Representative targeted tissue was comprised of optically transparent alginate or polyacrylamide gels. The system was characterized by hydrophone measurements free-field in water and in the presence of a body wall or rib phantoms. Shocked waveforms with peak positive/negative pressures of +100 / –20 MPa were measured at the focus in a free field at 1 kW electric source power. When ribs were present, shocks formed at about 50% amplitude at the same power, and higher pressures were measured with ribs positioned closer to the transducer. A uniform body wall structure attenuated shock amplitudes by a smaller amount than non-uniform, and the measurements were insensitive to the axial position of the phantom. Signal magnitude loss at the focus for both the rib phantoms and abdominal wall tissue were consistent with results from real tissues. In addition, boiling histotripsy lesions were generated and visualized in the target gels. The results demonstrate that the presence of ribs and absorptive tissue-mimicking layers do not prevent shock formation at the focus. With real-time lesion visualization, the phantom is suitable for adaptation as a training tool.

Investigation into the mechanisms of tissue atomization by high-intensity focused ultrasound

Simon, J.C., O.A. Sapzhnikov, Y.-N. Wang, V.A. Khokhlova, L.A. Crum, and M.R. Bailey, "Investigation into the mechanisms of tissue atomization by high-intensity focused ultrasound," Ultrasound Med. Biol., 41, 1372-1385, doi:10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2014.12.022, 2015.

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1 May 2015

Ultrasonic atomization, or the emission of a fog of droplets, was recently proposed to explain tissue fractionation in boiling histotripsy. However, even though liquid atomization has been studied extensively, the mechanisms underlying tissue atomization remain unclear. In the work described here, high-speed photography and overpressure were used to evaluate the role of bubbles in tissue atomization. As static pressure increased, the degree of fractionation decreased, and the ex vivo tissue became thermally denatured. The effect of surface wetness on atomization was also evaluated in vivo and in tissue-mimicking gels, where surface wetness was found to enhance atomization by forming surface instabilities that augment cavitation. In addition, experimental results indicated that wetting collagenous tissues, such as the liver capsule, allowed atomization to breach such barriers. These results highlight the importance of bubbles and surface instabilities in atomization and could be used to enhance boiling histotripsy for transition to clinical use.

Ultrasonic atomization of liquids in drop-chain acoustic fountains

Simon, J.C., O.A. Sapozhnikov, V.A. Khokhlova, and L.A. Crum, "Ultrasonic atomization of liquids in drop-chain acoustic fountains," J. Fluid Mech., 766, 129-146, doi:10.1017/jfm.2015.11, 2015.

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1 Mar 2015

When focused ultrasound waves of moderate intensity in liquid encounter an air interface, a chain of drops emerges from the liquid surface to form what is known as a drop-chain fountain. Atomization, or the emission of micro-droplets, occurs when the acoustic intensity exceeds a liquid-dependent threshold. While the cavitation-wave hypothesis, which states that atomization arises from a combination of capillary-wave instabilities and cavitation bubble oscillations, is currently the most accepted theory of atomization, more data on the roles of cavitation, capillary waves, and even heat deposition or boiling would be valuable. In this paper, we experimentally test whether bubbles are a significant mechanism of atomization in drop-chain fountains. High-speed photography was used to observe the formation and atomization of drop-chain fountains composed of water and other liquids. For a range of ultrasonic frequencies and liquid sound speeds, it was found that the drop diameters approximately equalled the ultrasonic wavelengths. When water was exchanged for other liquids, it was observed that the atomization threshold increased with shear viscosity. Upon heating water, it was found that the time to commence atomization decreased with increasing temperature. Finally, water was atomized in an overpressure chamber where it was found that atomization was significantly diminished when the static pressure was increased. These results indicate that bubbles, generated by either acoustic cavitation or boiling, contribute significantly to atomization in the drop-chain fountain.

More Publications


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

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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.

Methods of Soft Tissue Emulsification using a Mechanism of Ultrasonic Atomization Inside Gas or Vapor Cavities and Associated Systems and Devices

Patent Number: 9,498,651

Oleg Sapozhnikov, Mike Bailey, Larry Crum, Vera Khokhlova, Yak-Nam Wang

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22 Nov 2016

The present technology is directed to methods of soft tissue emulsification using a mechanism of ultrasonic atomization inside gas or vapor cavities, and associated systems and devices. In several embodiments, for example, a method of non-invasively treating tissue includes pulsing ultrasound energy from the ultrasound source toward the target site in tissue. The ultrasound source is configured to emit high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) waves. The target site comprises a pressure-release interface of a gas or vapor cavity located within the tissue. The method continues by generating shock waves in the tissue to induce a lesion in the tissue at the target site. The method additionally includes characterizing the lesion based on a degree of at least one of a mechanical or thermal ablation of the tissue.

Method and apparatus for preparing organs and tissues for laparoscopic surgery

Patent Number: 9,198,635

Larry Crum, Mike Bailey, Peter Kaczkowski, Stuart Mitchell

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1 Dec 2015

High intensity ultrasound (HIU) is used to facilitate surgical procedures, such as a laparoscopic partial nephrectomy, with minimal bleeding. An apparatus is configured to emit HIU from one or more transducers that are attached to a minimally invasive surgical instrument. Such a tool preferably can provide sufficient clamping pressure to collapse blood vessels' walls, so that they will be sealed by the application of the HIU, and by the resulting thermal ablation and tissue cauterization. Such an instrument can provide feedback to the user that the lesion is completely transmural and that blood flow to the region distal of the line of thermal ablation has ceased. Similar instruments having opposed arms can be configured for use in conventional surgical applications as well. Instruments can be implemented with transducers on only one arm, and an ultrasound reflective material disposed on the other arm.

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