Campus Map

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.

More Info

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.

More Info

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

Holographic extraction of plane waves from an ultrasound beam for acoustic characterization of an absorbing layer of finite dimensions

Nikolaev, D.A., S.A. Tsysar, V.A. Khokhlova, W. Kreider, and O. Sapozhnikov, "Holographic extraction of plane waves from an ultrasound beam for acoustic characterization of an absorbing layer of finite dimensions," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 149, 386-404, doi:10.1121/10.0003212, 2021.

More Info

1 Jan 2021

For the acoustic characterization of materials, a method is proposed for interpreting experiments with finite-sized transducers and test samples in terms of the idealized situation in which plane waves are transmitted through an infinite plane-parallel layer. The method uses acoustic holography, which experimentally provides complete knowledge of the wave field by recording pressure waveforms at points on a surface intersected by the acoustic beam. The measured hologram makes it possible to calculate the angular spectrum of the beam to decompose the field into a superposition of plane waves propagating in different directions. Because these waves cancel one another outside the beam, the idealized geometry of an infinite layer can be represented by a sample of finite size if its lateral dimensions exceed the width of the acoustic beam. The proposed method relies on holograms that represent the acoustic beam with and without the test sample in the transmission path. The method is described theoretically, and its capabilities are demonstrated experimentally for silicone rubber samples by measuring their frequency-dependent phase velocities and absorption coefficients in the megahertz frequency range.

Bilayer aberration-inducing gel phantom for high intensity focused ultrasound applications

Peek, A.T., C. Hunter, W. Kreider, T.D. Khokhlova, P.B. Rosnitskiy, P.V. Yuldashev, O.A. Sapozhnikov, and V.A. Khokhlova, "Bilayer aberration-inducing gel phantom for high intensity focused ultrasound applications," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 148, 3569-3580, doi:10.1121/10.0002877, 2020.

More Info

1 Dec 2020

Aberrations induced by soft tissue inhomogeneities often complicate high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) therapies. In this work, a bilayer phantom made from polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel and ballistic gel was built to mimic alternating layers of water-based and lipid tissues characteristic of an abdominal body wall and to reproducibly distort HIFU fields. The density, sound speed, and attenuation coefficient of each material were measured using a homogeneous gel layer. A surface with random topographical features was designed as an interface between gel layers using a 2D Fourier spectrum approach and replicating different spatial scales of tissue inhomogeneities. Distortion of the field of a 256-element 1.5 MHz HIFU array by the phantom was characterized through hydrophone measurements for linear and nonlinear beam focusing and compared to the corresponding distortion induced by an ex vivo porcine body wall of the same thickness. Both spatial shift and widening of the focal lobe were observed, as well as dramatic reduction in focal pressures caused by aberrations. The results suggest that the phantom produced levels of aberration that are similar to a real body wall and can serve as a research tool for studying HIFU effects as well as for developing algorithms for aberration correction.

Effect of stiffness of large extravascular hematomas on their susceptibility to boiling histotripsy liquefaction in vitro

Khokhlova, T.D., J.C. Kucewicz, E.M. Ponomarchuk, C. Hunter, M. Bruce, V.A. Khokhlova, T.J. Matula, and W. Monsky, "Effect of stiffness of large extravascular hematomas on their susceptibility to boiling histotripsy liquefaction in vitro," Ultrasound Med. Biol., 46, 2007-2016, doi:10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2020.04.023, 2020.

More Info

1 Aug 2020

Large intra-abdominal, retroperitoneal and intramuscular hematomas are common consequences of sharp and blunt trauma and post-surgical bleeds, and often threaten organ failure, compartment syndrome or spontaneous infection. Current therapy options include surgical evacuation and placement of indwelling drains that are not effective because of the viscosity of the organized hematoma. We have previously reported the feasibility of using boiling histotripsy (BH) — a pulsed high-intensity focused ultrasound method — for liquefaction of large volumes of freshly coagulated blood and subsequent fine-needle aspiration. The goal of this work was to evaluate the changes in stiffness of large coagulated blood volumes with aging and retraction in vitro, and to correlate these changes with the size of the BH void and, therefore, the susceptibility of the material to BH liquefaction. Large-volume (55–200 mL) whole-blood clots were fabricated in plastic molds from human and bovine blood, either by natural clotting or by recalcification of anticoagulated blood, with or without addition of thrombin. Retraction of the clots was achieved by incubation for 3 h, 3 d or 8 d. The shear modulus of the samples was measured with a custom-built indentometer and shear wave elasticity (SWE) imaging. Sizes of single liquefied lesions produced with a 1.5-MHz high-intensity focused ultrasound transducer within a 30-s standard BH exposure served as the metric for susceptibility of clot material to this treatment. Neither the shear moduli of naturally clotted human samples (0.52 ± 0.08 kPa), nor their degree of retraction (ratio of expelled fluid to original volume 50%––58%) depended on the length of incubation within 0–8 d, and were significantly lower than those of bovine samples (2.85 ± 0.17 kPa, retraction 5%–38%). In clots made from anticoagulated bovine blood, the variation of calcium chloride concentration within 5––40 mmol/L did not change the stiffness, whereas lower concentrations and the addition of thrombin resulted in significantly softer clots, similar to naturally clotted human samples. Within the achievable shear modulus range (0.4–1.6 kPa), the width of the BH-liquefied lesion was more affected by the changes in stiffness than the length of the lesion. In all cases, however, the lesions were larger compared with any soft tissue liquefied with the same BH parameters, indicating higher susceptibility of hematomas to BH damage. These results suggest that clotted bovine blood with added thrombin is an acceptable in vitro model of both acute and chronic human hematomas for assessing the efficiency of BH liquefaction strategies.

More Publications


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

More Info


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

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.

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